Invesco Perpetual, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS are among more than 30 finance groups to have been quizzed by the chair of the Treasury Select Committee over why they haven't yet signed up to the Women in Finance Charter.
The Charter is a Treasury initiative designed to encourage firms to build a more gender-balanced and fair financial services industry. Other businesses contacted by the Conservative MP Nicky Morgan include Close Brothers, AIG Europe, Pimco and MetroBank.
Morgan said: “The progress of the Women in Finance Charter is to be welcomed. The aim, however, must be to see all firms in the financial sector sign up to the Charter and make a concerted effort to improve their gender diversity, particularly in senior roles.
“As the Charter states, a balanced workforce is good for customers, profitability and workplace culture.
“Huge multi-nationals including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS are yet to sign up to the charter, and if they don’t intend to do so, the Treasury Committee wants them to explain why.”
However, several of the firms spoken to by City A.M. said they were planning to sign up - and in at least one case the company - MarketInvoice - had already done so. Some others admitted they had only just been made aware of its existence.
But either way, there was broad insistence that they were adhering to the principles of the charter.
A spokeswoman for Invesco said: "The Treasury will be announcing the next group of Women in Finance Charter signatories in March and our firm will be on that list."
A Goldman spokesman added: "We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of the firm. It is critical that we recruit and retain a diverse group of people who bring a broad range of experiences, capabilities and perspectives to our organisation. Our [future] participation in the Women in Finance Charter is one element of this broader commitment.”
AIG is considering signing up, but a spokesperson noted the firm already has "a range of initiatives" to improve gender balance including mentoring programmes, management training, flexible working and "strong internal promotion of our parental leave policies".
A BNP Paribas spokesperson said: "We are actively considering signing the charter and we wholly support the principles that underpin it."
UBS added: "We support the Charter in principle and have undertaken wide ranging steps to ensure higher gender equality in our firm. For global firms, any charter focused on one country brings limitations and adds complexity. Nevertheless, we are considering signing the UK Charter and remain extremely committed to supporting gender equality."
A Close Brothers spokesperson said: "We are strongly committed to supporting gender diversity and equality across the organisation and our chief executive is a longstanding member of the 30% Club, an institution aimed at promoting gender balance at all levels. As part of our membership commitments, we have already agreed to work towards an aspirational target of a 30 per cent female representation among our senior management population and have a number of commitments and initiatives in place to meet this target.
“We already exceed the government’s target of 33 per cent of boards being women, and are in line with the Hampton-Alexander gender targets for executives and their direct reports.
“We are therefore completely supportive of the principles of the Women in Finance Charter and have signed up.”