Register free for our breaking news email alerts with analysis and cutting edge commentary from our award winning team. Registration only takes a minute.

The least terrible wealth firms for women's pay

Wealth firms are a long way from gender parity. But which are the least unequal?

As previously pointed out in these pages the City has a problem with gender equality, consistently falling short of the pay parity of professions such as law, medicine and accountancy, and well below the national average.

It’s only following the full release of gender pay data for businesses which employ 250 or more in the UK (around 1,500 UK businesses missed last week’s deadline versus more than 10,000 to report) that we have been able to build a comprehensive picture of pay for women in wealth, however.  

The above graph shows a bespoke Citywire-assembled peer group of 80 UK-based asset managers – the leading discretionary houses, major fund groups, and a selection of local and international banks.

Businesses are ranked by how much less they pay their female employees on aggregate, with the greatest disparities on the left of the graph, and private client businesses picked out in green. The distribution shows that wealth firms generally fall heavily on the most unequal end of the spectrum.

Following publication, Rothschild Wealth Management (UK) has requested that we clarify that NM Rothschilds is a separate entity to the UK private client business.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

As previously pointed out in these pages the City has a problem with gender equality, consistently falling short of the pay parity of professions such as law, medicine and accountancy, and well below the national average.

It’s only following the full release of gender pay data for businesses which employ 250 or more in the UK (around 1,500 UK businesses missed last week’s deadline versus more than 10,000 to report) that we have been able to build a comprehensive picture of pay for women in wealth, however.  

The above graph shows a bespoke Citywire-assembled peer group of 80 UK-based asset managers – the leading discretionary houses, major fund groups, and a selection of local and international banks.

Businesses are ranked by how much less they pay their female employees on aggregate, with the greatest disparities on the left of the graph, and private client businesses picked out in green. The distribution shows that wealth firms generally fall heavily on the most unequal end of the spectrum.

Following publication, Rothschild Wealth Management (UK) has requested that we clarify that NM Rothschilds is a separate entity to the UK private client business.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

Zooming in to the wealth managers in isolation we can see just how much they are underperforming both the asset manager and UK averages – with pay disparities more than three times the average reported by UK companies.

Special dishonourable mention has to go to Hargreave Hale, which in one of its last acts before it is subsumed into parent Canaccord reported that it pays its average female employee an astonishing 64% less than her male colleagues.

The house was one of two, alongside Investec Wealth, to report a gender pay gap of more than 50%.

At the other end of the scale Mattioli Woods and Hargreaves Lansdown – recent entrants to the world of private clients, with arguably a somewhat different heritage to many of their rivals – deserve special mention for managing to get their pay gaps below 20%, to approach the UK average.  

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

The individual firms with the widest gender disparities correlate closely with those with the lowest percentage of women employed in their top pay quartiles.

Again, none of the peer group has covered themselves in glory, with the average less than half the national average.

Very muted and qualified plaudits again go to Mattioli Woods, which has promoted women to a relatively equitable 32% of its highest paid roles. A very small, quiet fanfare is also due SG Kleinwort Hambros and Towers Watson, which were the only others scoring ~25%.

At the other end of the spectrum we again find Hargreave Hale, with a somewhat shocking 97% of its highest paying roles held by men.

The company noted just 7% of its fund managers were women, and the majority of its female employees worked in administration in its Blackpool headquarters.  

‘While we have a significant gender pay gap at company level, it is the lack of women in different roles that needs addressing,’ the business said in a statement. ‘A significant proportion of our male staff are based in more highly-paid central London.’

JM Finn managed to clear that ground level hurdle with 9% of its top-earners being female followed by Rothschild on 10%.  

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

Zooming back out to the macro view of women in top-quartile pay positions we can again see that across our 80-strong peer group, wealth managers in green predominate on the less-equal end of the graph, although again only a handful of firms came anywhere near the UK national average.  

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

While the top and bottom extremes of unequal representation have an outsize effect on pay figures, the gender dispersion across pay quartiles was consistent.

A heavily disproportionate share of the lower-decile roles are occupied by female employees while higher decile roles are occupied by men.

In a now familiar pattern, wealth groups tended to lean into this gender bias much more sharply than the wider asset management industry and the national average.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

Due to broader income inequality, and the relatively smaller level of profit share which accrues to the lower decile of employees, both the previous factors are turbocharged in bonus payments.

Nationwide, women were awarded 7.2% less than men in discretionary payments last year. In fund management this spread explodes to a 67% difference however, while at the most acute point of the above triangle, women in wealth received barely a quarter of the bonus payments awarded to men.

There was no meaningful difference in the number of men and women awarded bonus payments.    

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

While the preceding numbers may not inspire the most charitable or generous interpretation, it is possible – although maybe not probable - that the data is framed in such a way that it punishes some of those businesses which are doing their best to correct a historic imbalance.

Skills shortages at the top level of the industry may leave businesses little choice but to inculcate their own female talent: precisely the circumstances which would create the biggest gender bulge at the bottom of the pay distribution.

Given the consistency in the skew, accompanied by a series of sector initiatives such as the Women in Finance Charter which have explicitly recognised the need to address a historic deficiency, it is possible to make this optimistic, cheerful case.

Then again, it could simply reflect the enduring strength of the boys club at the top: only time – and future updates to the data - will tell.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Wealth Manager on Twitter