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Women in finance are under-represented on a global scale at the executive level, according to findings from the World Economic Forum. In its 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, the WEF found that while 46% of all employees in the global financial services industry are female, this figure drops to just 15% once executive level is reached. The report concluded that one of the most underutilised resources in the financial industry today is female talent.

However, there are many women who are paving the way for a more gender-equal future at the top of the financial services industry, breaking the mould and seeing not challenges, but unique opportunities. For example, Binna Kim is president and co-founder of the integrated communications company Vested and Joey Horn worked as vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Helena Morrissey is one of the UK’s most powerful money managers in her role at Legal & General Investment Management as head of personal investing. Not only that, but she also chairs a gender diversity project, has authored a book on women in the workforce and has nine children.

You can learn more about Helena Morrissey’s gender diversity project in the PDF attachment to this post.

Career Background

Helena Morrissey was born in 1966 in Bowden, Cheshire, England. Both her parents worked as teachers and she completed her early education at the Bishop Luffa School near Chichester, before attending Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where she studied philosophy. Morrissey’s started her career at Schroders on the London and New York bond desks, before moving on to Newton Investment Management after finding her career path stalling. Morrissey began at Newton’s in the early nineties as a fixed income fund manager and by 2015 had reached the position of chief executive at the company, which as of 2015 had £47 billion of assets under management. Morrissey’s current role is at Legal & General, which as of 2016 managed more than £894 billion of assets.

Honours

The work and achievements of Helena Morrissey have been recognised many times throughout her career. In the 2012 New Year Honours, she was awarded the CBE for services to UK businesses. In the 2017 Birthday Honours, she was promoted to DBE for her services to promote diversity within the financial sector. Morrissey was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 2016 from the University of Cambridge. In 2015, Morrissey was recognised as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, and in 2017 named Person of the Year at the Financial Times’ Boldness in Business Awards.

In the infographic attachment, you can find out more about some of the other most powerful women blazing a trail in the global financial services industry.

Campaigns

Helena Morrissey has been known throughout her career not only for her success in business, but for spearheading a variety of campaigns and projects to promote gender diversity within the financial services sector and the wider business world. In 2010, she founded the 30% Club, which is a cross-business initiative with the aim of promoting business-led, voluntary change to achieve a better balance of gender at board level. In the following five years since the launch of the 30% Club, the proportion of women represented on boards in the UK more than doubled. There are now 11 international 30% Clubs. Helena Morrissey is also former chairperson of the Royal Academy of the Arts’ corporate board and a trustee of the Eve Appeal.

You can find out more about the Eve Appeal in the short video attachment to this post.