Financial Conduct Authority takes backward step on its own diversity targets

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The Financial Conduct Authority aims to have 50 per cent women on its senior leadership by 2025 (Source: Getty)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was today forced to issue a reprimand to itself as data showed the City watchdog has moved further away from its own targets on improving diversity.

The FCA’s senior leadership team was 36 per cent female on 31 March, a decline from the 39 per cent ratio at the same point in 2016, the regulator revealed today.

The FCA has set a target of 45 per cent of its top leaders identifying as female by 2020, and 50 per cent by 2025 as part of its commitment to the Women in Finance charter.

Read more: Sexism in the City: Jayne-Anne Gadhia tells MPs of "pervading sexism"

Christopher Woolard, chair of the FCA’s executive diversity committee, said the watchdog was “obviously disappointed" that progress moved in reverse.

The regulator also revealed that the average woman working at the FCA is paid 19 per cent less than the average man, because of the relative lack of women in higher-paying senior roles.

Woolard said: "We are taking positive steps to ensure that we achieve a better balance across the organisation. This includes improving our gender balance throughout the organisation which will help reduce the gender pay gap."

Read more: The UK's gender pay gap is at its smallest since records began

FCA boss Andrew Bailey and chairman John Griffith-Jones are almost certain to face stern questions tomorrow morning from the Treasury Select Committee, whose members are investigating the status of women in finance.

The FCA also took a step in the wrong direction with regards to its ethnic diversity targets: as of 31 March 2017 only two per cent of the FCA’s senior leadership team identify as black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), down from three per cent in 2016.

The regulator aims to have eight per cent of its leaders identifying as BAME by 2020 and 13 per cent by 2025.

Read more: Bank of England needs more diversity Morgan tells chancellor Hammond

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