Women losing ground in top investment jobs

Number of senior women at the top of investment banking industry in Canada has shrunk since 2000, still no females with "clout" titles: Catalyst

The number of women near the top of the investment banking industry in Canada has shrunk over the last two years, according to new research by Catalyst, a non-profit research and advisory organization that works to advance women in business.

The number of women at the managing director level in the retail private client business declined from 11 per cent to eight per cent, according to Benchmarking 2002 a followup study to the 2000 study, Women in Canadian Investment Dealers: Growing the Pipeline. In the investment dealer business, the representation of women at the managing director level declined from 11 per cent to 10 per cent.

And the number of women who held “clout” titles — the most senior titles in the firms — stood at zero in Canada. A total of 16 men held these positions in the six investment dealers that took part in the Catalyst study.

But the news isn’t all bad for women. While the number of women at the top is declining, there has been progress in increasing the number of women in corporate and investment banking and in client-facing roles in the retail private client area. The number of women professionals rose four percentage points to 29 per cent, while the proportion of female investment advisors increased one percentage point to 16 per cent.

“While many Canadian investment dealers have implemented programs to grow the pipeline of women in their organizations, the results of this study … suggest that more is needed,” said Susan Black, vice-president of Catalyst Canada. “Fundamental cultural change that creates a more welcoming environment for women must accompany these programs to drive meaningful improvements in the number of women in the investment dealer talent pool. For Canadian investment dealers to compete on the global stage, they need access to the best and the brightest, and women are an important part of this talent pool.”

Lisa Porlier, past-president of Women in Capital Markets, a Canadian non-profit association established for the advancement of women in the investment industry, praised the investment banking industry for voluntarily taking part in the study.

“This is critical as it keeps the spotlight on this important issue — the retention and advancement of women working in the capital markets,” said Porlier. She said the investment industry has finally figured out the importance of hiring and promoting women because it is a bottom-line issue.

At a luncheon meeting of women investment bankers in Toronto yesterday, Black said she was “mildly” disappointed at the numbers but didn’t expect to see a major improvement in the numbers in such a short period of time, according to the Toronto Star.

Speaking at the same luncheon, Jamie Anderson, deputy chairman of RBC Capital Markets, said there will be changes in getting women into senior positions but it will be gradual.

“You won’t see any quantum leaps,” said Anderson. “Senior positions take a long time to fill.”

Don Lindsay, president of CIBC World Markets, said efforts to recruit women have been disappointing. Career nights aimed at women end up attracting 85 per cent men and at MBA recruitment offices, only 20 per cent of the candidates are women.

The survey also found 72 per cent of women in the industry work in lower-paid administrative and support roles and women are twice as likely to be found in sales than in trading positions.

In doing the research, Catalyst gathered data from six financial institutions — BMO Financial Group, CIBC, National Bank Financial Inc., RBC Financial Group, Scotiabank and TD Securities — on representation levels as of Oct. 31, 2002 for the investment dealer and retail private client businesses.

For a PDF copy of the survey from Women in Capital Markets’ Web site, click here.

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