German finance boards least gender-diverse in Europe-EY data

The financial district in Frankfurt, Germany, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski//File Photo

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LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The boardrooms of banks, fintech firms, insurers and asset managers in Germany are the least gender-diverse in Europe, according to data shared with Reuters by consultants EY.

Only 29% of financial services board members in Germany are women, compared with a European average of 37%, the EY analysis of 87 companies showed.

Switzerland was also one of the lowest of the 13 countries surveyed by EY, at 33% female, while Italy took the lead at 44%. In major European economies Britain and France, the figure came in at 38%, according to the EY European Financial Services Boardroom Monitor.

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Companies have been working to make their boards more diverse following pressure from investors and regulators.

“Incoming regulation that will mandate equal gender diversity in the EU and the UK is positive, but if firms are to achieve this aim, further action is needed now,” said Omar Ali, EMEIA financial services managing partner at EY.

“Like other sectors, financial services companies need to up their game.”

Companies have made progress, however, EY said, with 48% of female board members appointed in the past three years, compared with 32% of male board members over the same period.

Forty-four percent of investors say gender diversity in the boardroom “significantly influences” their decision to invest in a financial services company, while 16% say it does not influence their decision at all, according to an EY survey of 300 European and UK- based fund managers with actual or potential exposure to European financial services companies.

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Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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