Bankers be­hind ‘Girl’ count few women as ex­ecs

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY GREG B. SMITH

THE BANK that in­stalled the “Fear­less Girl” statue to make a point about gen­der in­equity em­ploys only a hand­ful of women as ex­ec­u­tives, and its par­ent com­pany has been re­peat­edly cited for ethics vi­o­la­tions.

State Street Global Ad­vi­sors has 28 top ex­ec­u­tives, of whom five are women.

That’s about 17% of the top of­fice, slightly worse than the other big Wall Street banks, statis­tics show.

By com­par­i­son, a 2015 Busi­ness In­sider sur­vey found that the per­cent­age of women em­ployed as ex­ec­u­tives at other top banks is slightly bet­ter: Citi Bank (19%), Gold­man Sachs (21%) Wells Fargo (22%) and JPMor­gan (25%). Bank of Amer­ica stands out with 34%.

The firm said it put up the pop­u­lar statue of the de­fi­ant 9-year-old girl across from the iconic Wall Street “Charg­ing Bull” to call at­ten­tion to the lack of women ex­ec­u­tives on The Street.

On Mon­day, as Mayor de Bla­sio and other city politi­cians pushed to keep the statue in place for a year, State Street’s par­ent com­pany said it was proud of its record of em­ploy­ing women.

Over­all, the staff of State Street Bank & Trust is 47% women; 23% of its ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dents are women, and 28% of se­nior vice pres­i­dents are women.

“We have set spe­cific goals to in­crease di­ver­sity across the com­pany by end of 2017, with the aim to in­crease fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion across our ranks,” said spokes­woman Anne McNally. “Since we out­lined these goals in 2014, we’ve in­creased gen­der di­ver­sity at all lev­els. While we’re proud of these statis­tics, we are con­stantly work­ing to do bet­ter.” The bank has also been the sub­ject of four sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tions by reg­u­la­tors in the last few years, city records show. State Street has 10 con­tracts with the City of New York, which red­flags in­ves­ti­ga­tions of ven­dors in the Mayor’s Of­fice of Con­tracts Ven­dex sys­tem. The sys­tem’s “Cau­tion List” notes a Jan­uary 2016 agree­ment in which State Street paid $12 mil­lion to set­tle Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion charges over the firm’s al­leged in­volve­ment in an Ohio bribery scandal. Pros­e­cu­tors in Ohio charged that the ex­ec­u­tive who ran State Street’s public funds group steered kick­backs to a state bu­reau­crat to win lu­cra­tive con­tracts man­ag­ing pen­sion funds. State Street nei­ther ad­mit­ted nor de­nied wrong­do­ing. The Ven­dex list also cites a pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of State Street by the SEC and an un­spec­i­fied U.S. at­tor­ney over al­le­ga­tions that the bank dras­ti­cally over­charged cus­tomers. Last April, Mas­sachusetts filed a com­plaint against State Street Global Mar­kets LLC, al­leg­ing a “dis­hon­est and per­va­sive cul­ture of over­billing.” The bank al­legedly hit cus­tomers with “con­cealed markups” on ev­ery­thing from courier ser­vices to stamp du­ties, charg­ing $5 for each mes­sage about fund trans­fers that cost the bank as lit­tle as 25 cents. In one email, a State Street ex­ec­u­tive wrote, “We can’t be in the po­si­tion that they dis­cover that we are tak­ing them to the clean­ers,” records show. State Street’s Ven­dex file also noted Italy im­posed fines on the bank in 2013 over vi­o­la­tions of its reg­u­la­tions, and in 2015 the Fed­eral Re­serve im­posed sanc­tions and re­quired the firm to up­grade its com­pli­ance en­force­ment. State Street did not com­ment on any of the ci­ta­tions noted by Ven­dex. gsmith@ny­dai­lynews.com

Bank­ing firm State Street erected “Fear­less Girl” statue, sculpted by Kris­ten Vis­bal (top), to con­front Wall Street bull as sym­bol of equal­ity. But only 17% of com­pany’s top po­si­tions are filled by women, worse than most other fi­nan­cial firms.

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