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The Women in Finance Charter is an initiative that is run by HM Treasury with the aim of getting higher numbers of women into leadership positions within the financial services sector. There is a total of 272 UK businesses that have signed up to the charter, which covers over 760,000 employees within the industry.

Signatories of the charter make several commitments to improve the career prospects of their female employees, which includes setting gender diversity targets for the senior management team, as well as making one of the senior executives responsible for improving gender inclusion and diversity. The Women in Finance Charter also stipulates that each of the companies within its programme must provide an annual report on their gender diversity targets.

Companies that have recently joined the Women in Finance Charter include JP Morgan, Grant Thornton, FinTech Strategic Advisors Ltd., Evolution Financial Planning, Yorkshire Building Society and Investec Asset Management, who all hope to follow in the footsteps of those signatories that signed the charter early on and have seen great success.

A review of the charter reported that more than 75% of the first group of businesses in the programme increased or maintained the number of women in senior management positions, and more than 85% have set themselves the target of having a minimum of 30% women in senior roles by 2021.

The Women in Finance Charter is the product of a Government review into female representation in senior managerial roles in the financial industry. Working with Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the CEO of Virgin Money, the 2015 Government review resulted in a report that was published in March 2016.

The report found that in 2015 only 14% of Executive Committees in the financial industry were made up of women; as a result, the Women in Finance Charter was born. Joey Horn was Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions at Credit Suisse First Boston from 1994-1996; over a decade later, the Women in Finance Charter hopes to facilitate many more women taking up similar senior roles within the financial industry.

The Charter focuses on building fair and balanced workplaces within the industry, which creates more opportunities for women as well as being good for business. A balanced workforce is attractive to investors, as well as for the culture, the productivity and the profitability of the workplace.  The Charter is created in a way in which each firm is recognised as a diverse and unique proposition – and as such, each business has its own starting point. The Charter therefore allows each business to set its own targets and to create a strategy for gender diversity that addresses the specifics of the company.