Amy Reeve 11 Jul 2018 04:18pm

ICAEW joins Women in Finance Charter

ICAEW has signed up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, taking the total number of organisations publicly committing to achieving gender balance across financial services to 272

Maura Owens, ICAEW director of Human Resources, said the institute “is a supporter of gender diversity across all parts of the organisation. We have progressed in many areas, including the senior leadership team, but are always striving to improve, hence us becoming a signatory of this important charter.”

Over 760,000 financial services workers are now covered by the Charter, which was launched in 2016 and asks firms to commit to four industry actions to prepare their female talent for leadership positions.

“From banking to asset management, too few women get to the top in financial services. That’s why it’s so important that firms sign our Charter and commit publicly to take action, John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said.

“It’s not just the morally right thing to do; a balanced workforce is good for business, for customers, and for profitability too.”

ICAEW is one of 67 firms that have signed the Charter this year. Others include Grant Thornton, JP Morgan, Admiral Group, Equifax, Investec Asset Management and Yorkshire Building Society.

The first cohort of 68 signatories, which included PwC, EY, Unum, Virgin Money and Atom Bank, submitted their first annual update at the end of last year – 85% had either met their targets or were on track to meet them.

In June this year, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, a chartered accountant and CEO of Virgin Money as well as the government’s Women in Finance Champion, said, “Delivering gender balance in business is important for everyone who cares about a fairer society and a more productive economy.”

Writing for International Banker she explained that, “Women are a critical part of the UK’s continuing success, and we need the balance of their skill, insight, expertise and experience to help drive success in a changing world.

“Having worked in financial services for many years, and seen some extraordinary women, I know just how much untapped talent there is and how critical it is to unleash that potential.”

That’s why she says she’s delighted that 270 further companies have committed to the Charter, “but there’s still more to do and we will keep going until every organisation is signed up”.

The four industry actions include: having one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; setting internal targets for gender diversity in senior management; publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on the website, and having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.