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Report – HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter Annual Review 2023

March 2024 • Driving diversityby Yasmine Chinwala, Jennifer Barrow & Sheenam Singhal

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Our seventh Annual Review monitors the progress of signatories against their Charter commitments and holds them to account against the four Charter principles. This report offers unique insight into what Charter signatory firms – from across the financial services industry – are doing to boost the proportion of women in senior ranks, who has hit and missed their targets, how they are developing diversity data and their different approaches to hybrid working. The data provides important benchmarking for signatories and non-signatories alike.

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Highlights of the review

1) Meeting targets: More than a third (36%) of the 202 signatories analysed in this review have met their targets for female representation in senior management, and a further 40% that have targets with future deadlines said they are on track to meet them.

2) Slow and steady uptick: Female representation in senior management edged up to from 34% in 2022 to 35% in 2023. A one percentage point annual rise has been a consistent occurrence on average since the launch of the Charter. If this pace remains constant, signatories should achieve an average of 50% in 2038 – but not for all sectors.

3) UK banks lead the way: For the first time, we analysed average female representation over the past six years across the four largest signatory sector groups. Overall, the four sectors have moved at a similar pace, but the UK banks and insurers were in a better position in 2018 and have maintained their advantage over the investment managers and global/investment banks.

4) Hit and miss in 2023: Target deadlines loomed for 76 signatories, with 44 hitting their targets while the remaining 32 missed. Of the 32 that missed, 27 were close – either within five percentage points or five appointments of hitting their target.

5) Shift in actions focus to retention: While actions related to recruitment are still most frequently mentioned, 85% of signatories are taking actions to develop internal talent, up from 70% in 2022. Our new analysis of signatories that are accelerating the pace of change shows that introducing initiatives sooner, applying them robustly, monitoring impact, and sustaining that effort over years are the key success factors.

6) Expanding diversity data: Signatories are extending diversity data collection, with 85% capturing additional diversity data about their senior managers, up from 45% in 2020. Ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation are the most commonly collected datapoints, and a small but growing number of firms are beginning to analyse more of this expanded dataset.

7) The role of the accountable executive: Accountability is sitting at the highest levels of seniority, with almost all (97%) accountable executives (AE) sitting on the executive committee. AEs are taking a more strategic approach, and some are adding diversity strands to their role.

8) Linking to pay: In 2023, 70% of signatories reported that the link to pay has been effective, up from 49% in 2020. Diversity is positioned in pay as a business issue with clear criteria and expectations of leaders.

9) Strong ambition on targets: Just over half of signatories (51%) have set a target of at least 40%, corresponding with HM Treasury’s desire for alignment with the FTSE Women Leaders review, including one in seven with a target of 50%.

10) Publishing updates: Publishing progress is the Charter principle that has taken the longest to improve, with 86% of signatories posting an update on their progress on their company website. Disclosure is improving, however, the quality and format of reporting varied significantly and only 38% included the details required by HM Treasury.

Research methodology:

This review analyses annual updates from 202 signatories that signed the Charter before September 2022, provided an annual update to HM Treasury in September 2023, and have at least 250 staff. All data has been anonymised and aggregated, and no data has been attributed without consent. The data was analysed by Sheenam Singhal and Jennifer Barrow under the supervision of Yasmine Chinwala. For the full methodology, see the Appendix.

About New Financial:

New Financial is a think tank and forum that makes the positive case for bigger and better capital markets in Europe. We think there is a huge opportunity for the industry and its customers to embrace change and reform, and to rethink how capital markets work. Diversity is one of our core areas of coverage.


New Financial is proud to be HM Treasury’s data partner for the Charter. We would like to thank Aviva, Santander UK, London Stock Exchange Group and City of London Corporation for sponsoring our work on the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, and to all our institutional members for their support.

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