Central Bank concerned at lack of women in senior positions

Regulator’s head of credit supervision says data ‘reflects quite a poor picture’

Speaking to ‘Inside Business’, an ‘Irish Times’ podcast, Ed Sibley, the Central Bank’s director of credit institutions, said the data on women in senior positions “reflects quite a poor picture”.

Speaking to ‘Inside Business’, an ‘Irish Times’ podcast, Ed Sibley, the Central Bank’s director of credit institutions, said the data on women in senior positions “reflects quite a poor picture”.

 

The head of credit supervision at the Central Bank of Ireland has described the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions across financial services here as a “cause of concern” for the regulator.

This follows new research by the Central Bank on gender diversity, based on fitness and probity applications for directors, executives and managers between 2012 and 2016.

It showed that just 20 per cent of the applications over that period were for females, although the proportion increased from 16 per cent in 2012 to 22 per cent last year.

Across sectors, asset management and insurance both came in at 18 per cent while credit unions polled highest at 29 per cent. Just 12 per cent of applicants for either a chief executive role or chairman of the board were women.

Diversity

Speaking to Inside Business, an Irish Times podcast, Ed Sibley, the Central Bank’s director of credit institutions, said the data “reflects quite a poor picture”.

Listen to Inside Business

“The level of diversity within the financial services sector in Ireland is relatively low . . . and that does cause us concern,” he said.

Mr Sibley said diversity within financial services firms was important but accepted that it was difficult to legislate for behaviour and culture within firms.

“There is a lot of evidence that diversity and inclusion can play a really important role in improving those areas,” he explained.

Mr Sibley said the regulator had looked at a sample of diversity policies published by the larger regulated firms but was “pretty disappointed with the level of ambition in them”.

In terms of the Central Bank’s own gender diversity, six out of 18 members of its leadership team are women while three from 11 on its commission (its equivalent to a board of directors) are female.

Mr Sibley said this was a “reasonably strong” starting point and noted that about 40 per cent of the heads of units with the bank were women. “We need to do more,” he added.

Earlier this week, AIB said it plans to have 40 per cent women across its management by 2018. The bank achieved its target of 25 per cent representation of women on the group board by the end of 2016.