St James's Place  

SJP and Lifesearch sign up to gender diversity targets

SJP and Lifesearch sign up to gender diversity targets

HM Treasury's Women in Finance Charter has gained a further 67 signatories, it was announced today (11 July).

St James’s Place, JP Morgan, LifeSearch and Vanguard Asset Services are among the most recent companies to join the charter pledging for gender balance across the financial services.

The new additions bring the total number of charter signatories to 272, a figure the Treasury estimates will now mean 760,000 financial services employees in the UK  are covered by the pledge.

The voluntary initiative was introduced in 2016 following increasing calls for change to the representation of women in the financial industry.

Following recommendations by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, the charter asks firms to set internal targets for gender diversity within senior management including the appointment of a team member responsible for the progression and inclusion.  

Organisations are also expected to publish annual reports detailing target progress and harbour an intention for the senior executive team’s pay to be linked to delivery against the diversity targets.

Emma Thomson, life office relationship director at LifeSearch, said she learned of the charter at an Insuring Women’s Futures event.

She said: “The initiative comes at a time when women face many challenges in the market regarding how they are valued.

“It is a fantastic initiative and pledging to the charter’s recommendations was not really a challenge as we were already informally implementing them - it felt like the right thing to do.”

Anna Sofat, managing director at Addidi, said it is great to see so many small firms joining the charter as often smaller organisations may not feel initiatives of this nature influence them.

Addidi is not currently signed up to the charter and Ms Sofat said she would like to see more recognition of firms who adhere to the initiative's requirements without having formally signed and pledged.

She said: “Addidi is a female-driven company who already meet the charter’s requirements and have done for a long time. I would therefore like to see similar firms included in the government’s statistics of which companies are meeting their gender diversity targets, not just those who have formally pledged.

“I am really pleased so many firms are pledging a commitment to gender balance but it is key to see what difference the pledge will make on the ground and how many continue to meet targets in coming years.”