Despite politicians such as Harriet Harman lamenting the lack of “Lehman Sisters” in the banking sector, researchers at Germany’s highly respected central bank have found that having more female board members in fact slightly raises the likelihood of a bank taking dangerous decisions.
Women execs tend to have less experience by the time they get to the boardroom, according to the study, and are often forced to take more risks to climb the corporate ladder.
While women tend to “self-select” roles in more stable firms, banks that have brought in more female execs end up being more risk-hungry after three years, the paper claimed.
The stats also act as a warning to those trying to push through quotas for women on boards. Norway’s quota system caused firms to pick younger, less experienced and so riskier candidates, the paper said.
The study of 3,525 German banks also showed that having directors with PhDs “robustly” lowers the risk profile of a firm’s decisions, and that a board’s age and education have more of an economic impact than gender.