The Daily Telegraph

More women on the board at UK banks

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

UK banks have overtaken European and US rivals on gender diversity at senior level, with women occupying almost two in five seats on boards, a study suggests.

Around 37 per cent of board members at UK banks are women, compared with 35 per cent in Europe and 33 per cent in the US, said consultant­s New Street Group. The percentage of women on UK bank boards has increased from 28 per cent in 2015, when UK banks trailed behind European banks at 33 per cent.

Andrew Mcintee, New Street Group managing director, said: “A growing body of evidence suggests that a better gender balance on the board can lead to greater diversity of ideas, better and more informed decisionma­king, and increased board effectiven­ess.”

Improvemen­ts in representa­tion of women at board level are a result of UK banks more actively embedding diversity and inclusion into hiring and retention practices and workplace culture, said the report. Barriers that have prevented women progressin­g into senior roles in the past, such as taking maternity leave, have been removed through inclusion programmes, it added.

New Street Group said its research suggested that, during the coronaviru­s crisis, the FTSE 350 businesses with the most gender-diverse boards saw their share prices withstand the disruption more favourably than comparable businesses with less gender-diverse boards.

The study assessed the boards of directors of the world’s 50 largest banks by assets and the 10 largest investment banks by assets.

Last month, it was revealed that companies with more female executive committee members brought in 10 times greater profits. Research found committees with more than a third of women have a net profit margin of 15.2 per cent while those with none make just 1.5 per cent, the Women Count 2020 report said.

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