Women in Pensions: An Exception to the Gender Imbalance?

European pensions beat their capital market partners in top-level female representation, a survey has revealed.

Women make up more than a quarter of European pension fund board members and executive committees, pushing the sector to the top of the gender equality pile in capital markets, a survey has revealed.

Data by think tank New Financial showed four of the five largest European financial institutions with the best top level female representation were pension funds.

Sweden’s AP2 “buffer” pension, with 56% female representation, leads the region’s financial industry, followed by compatriot AMF pension, with 55%, and the Norwegian stock exchange Oslo Bors, with 50%.

New Financial WomenSource: New Financial“The boards and executive committees of the biggest companies and institutions in European capital market are overwhelmingly male-dominated,” said New Financial Partner Yasmine Chinwala. “Women hold just 19% of board positions and 15% of executive committee roles.”

These figures for capital market companies are even lower than those for listed firms more widely, New Financial found. FTSE 100 companies average 23% female representation on boards, whereas women make up just 16% of their executive committees.

Some 47 of the largest 200 European capital market institutions have no women at the top tier at all, the report said.

Figures obtained by CIO show women are also greatly underrepresented in investment banking, asset management, hedge funds, and private equity in the US. However, this data also showed women were in more top-level asset-owner positions, accounting for 30% of senior roles in the countries corporate pension funds.

“The European capital markets industry is starting from a very low base when it comes to gender balance and this situation is not going to change quickly,” said Chinwala. “If the industry wants to address the lack of diversity in decision-making roles, it will need to commit to making a concerted effort over an extended period of time.”

Related content: The Missing Women of Asset Management & Female Bankers See Pay Plummet in Early 30s