Women reach 42% on European financial firm boards

The latest EY European Financial Services Boardroom Monitor shows that European financial services firms are “responding to investor expectations” with 50% of board appointments over the last year being female.

Of board appointments made the year prior, 58% were male and 42% were female.

“All European financial services businesses monitored have female representation at boardroom level and the current gender split of board members across all businesses stands at 58% male and 42% female,” said EY.

“This is a five-percentage point rise in the share of female board members from June 2022, when the gender split stood at 63% male and 37% female.”

The EY European Financial Services Boardroom Monitor charts the profile, experience, training and skillsets of board directors in the MSCI European Financials Index.

The report said the average age of female board directors is 57, marginally younger than their male counterparts, who have an average age of 60.

The EY Boardroom Monitor also provides clear evidence that women are less likely to have worked in C-suite roles.

The report showed that gender diversity is highest across bank and insurance boards, where 43% of board members are female and 57% male.

Gender diversity is lowest among boards at wealth and asset management firms, where the gender split stands at 40% female and 60% male.

Omar Ali, EY EMEIA Financial Services Managing Partner, said: “Across Europe, boards and company management are taking clear steps to increase diversity across a range of measures.

“Achieving greater gender balance and ensuring that boardrooms reflect the diversity of the customers and societies they serve is a work in progress, but leaders across the financial sector are driving change.

“Progressive businesses are anticipating regulation, and view diversity as a strategic priority, understanding that more diverse views, backgrounds and experience play a role in identifying and responding to risks, and ultimately create more effective boards.

“The 2022 participants in the EY European Financial Services Chairs’ Interview Series made clear that proactive steps to enhance gender diversity at boardroom level are at the forefront of their board appointment strategies.

“Alongside increasing female representation across boards, Chairs of European financial services firms are also prioritizing cultural diversity, relevant business specific credentials and international experience, to reflect the increasing complexity of operating cross border.”