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HMT Women in Finance Charter Signatories Survey 2019

July 2019 • Driving diversityby Olivia Seddon-Daines & Yasmine Chinwala

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The HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter was launched in March 2016 and now has over 350 signatories covering 800,000 employees across the sector. Our latest report is based on a survey of 136 firms that have signed up and assesses the concrete impact the Charter is having on how they approach diversity, the benefits they are realising – and the challenges they face in meeting their Charter commitments.

The UK government launched the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in March 2016 to encourage the financial services industry to improve gender balance in senior management. The Charter now has over 350 signatories covering 800,000 employees across the sector.

The number of signatories illustrates how seriously the sector is taking the Charter. But what impact has joining the Charter had on signatory companies? What benefits are they realising and what challenges do they face in meeting their Charter commitments? New Financial surveyed Charter signatories in April 2019 to answer these questions.

The highlights of the survey include:

  • Driving change: the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter is having a positive impact. Two thirds of the signatories surveyed believe being a Charter signatory will drive permanent sustainable change in their company and across the financial services industry.
  • Medium term: the remaining third of signatories said it was too early to tell. However, of those, nearly four-fifths (78%) expect to see a shift in their own organisation over the next five years, and two-thirds (67%) expect change across the industry over the next 10 years.
  • A C-suite issue: promoting discussion of gender diversity at the highest levels of their organisation was the most commonly cited benefit of being a signatory, followed by maintaining focus and accelerating action on gender diversity.
  • A new approach: the Charter principles are prompting signatories to think and act differently. More than half (52%) of respondents had not undertaken any of the four Charter principles before signing up.
  • Beyond gender: four fifths (81%) of signatories are tackling other areas of diversity in addition to gender, and nearly all respondents are seeking ways to involve men in their Charter commitments.
  • Peer review: six out of seven (85%) signatories are using the Annual Review data analysis, which monitors progress of Charter signatories, for benchmarking purposes.
  • Challenges remain: fine tuning the mechanism linking pay to gender diversity targets is the trickiest of the Charter requirements to implement, while maintaining stakeholder engagement is the biggest challenge signatories face in meeting their Charter commitments and driving sustainable change.


HM Treasury invited all Charter signatories to participate in the survey in April 2019. We received responses from 136 firms.


We are very grateful to all the signatories that took part in the survey. We would also like to thank our institutional members for their support, and particularly Virgin Money, now owned by CYBG, and City of London Corporation for funding this research.

New Financial believes that diversity in its broadest sense is not only an essential part of running a sustainable business but a fundamental part of addressing cultural change in capital markets. We provided data to Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s government-backed review of senior women in financial services, Empowering Productivity, and we are working with HM Treasury to conduct an annual review of the HMT Women in Finance Charter to monitor the progress of charter signatories.

As part of our aim to move the diversity debate forward, we host a series of seminars and workshops on different aspects of diversity, and we publish surveys and research. If you have any feedback on this report or are interested in taking part in our events programme, please contact Yasmine Chinwala on yasmine.chinwala@newfinancial.org

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