Monday 27 January 2020 12:01 am

Proportion of female partners at finance firms stalls

The percentage of female partners at financial services partnerships has flatlined at just 14 per cent for the third year in a row amid a lack of scrutiny over diversity.

The number of women partners at companies such as private equity firms and hedge funds was 1,356 in 2019, down slightly from 1,369 the previous year.

This is contrasted with 8,051 male partners, according to figures from the Financial Conduct Authority.

The disparity suggests finance firms are still lagging behind broader industry trends, with women now holding roughly a third of boardroom positions at FTSE 100 companies.

“Private equity firms and hedge funds have traditionally had a lower profile than other financial services businesses,” said Catriona Watt, partner at law firm Fox & Partners, which compiled the figures.

“Very few have a large base of retail customers so that feeling of pressure to change has been absent. However, that is changing as more institutional investors take environmental, social and corporate governance seriously and start asking questions about the diversity of the managers they work with.”

Investment consultants, who advise pension funds and endowments on which fund managers to invest with, have started to consider gender balance and overall diversity in a bid to close the gap.

Some investors are now said to be specifically asking that female fund managers are added to the roster of managers that investment consultants review.

“Once hedge funds and private equity funds realise that it helps in attracting investment then we will see faster change,” Watt added.

“At the moment diversity does seem low. That is partly because there isn’t yet that critical mass of women working at more junior levels within private equity and hedge funds that would make partnership for more women an imperative.”

Main image credit: Getty

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