Surge in women on bank boards after credit crisis

Tim Wallace
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BRITISH banks have almost doubled the proportion of women on their boards in the past six years, according to research out today from recruiter Astbury Marsden.

Twenty per cent of board directors are now women across the top five biggest UK lenders, up from 12 per cent in 2007. That is the same level as in the US, where the figure stood at 15 per cent six years ago. But it is behind the rest of the EU where 25 per cent of directors are female across the biggest lenders, up from 10 per cent before the financial crisis.

“UK banks recognise this problem and they are gradually closing the gap. More effort is going into mentoring women throughout the ranks and making sure they take advantage of executive training,” said Astbury Marsden’s Mark Cameron.

But he said banks need to be careful to make sure this drive to widen the pool from which talent is recruited does not collapse into a quota-boosting box-ticking exercise to promote more women.

Lloyds has three women on its board, including Victrex chair Anita Frew, while Barclays and Standard Chartered have two each and HSBC and RBS have four each.