Could Having More Women On Financial Boards Have Stopped Occupy Wall Street?

Taken from here.

According to new data by Incomes Data Services, directors of businesses in major British companies earned 2.7 million pounds ($4.3 million) on average. Directors saw their average bonus payments increase by 23 percent to 906,044 pounds in 2011, up from 737,624 pounds a year earlier, Incomes Data Services said. Total earnings for chief executive officers, including salary, benefits, bonuses and long-term incentive plans, increased by 43%. In the 12 months through March, the FTSE 100 gained 4%. “It is very hard to justify these sorts of pay increases,” said Deborah Hargreaves, chairwoman of the High Pay Commission, an independent panel set up to investigate top pay in the private sector.

According to Prime Minister David Cameron this problem could be helped if there were more women on boards. If there were more women on company boards, it would have “a beneficial effect” on breaking the “closed circle” of executives making pay awards to each other, Cameron said. “Boards have got to think when they make pay awards if it is the right and responsible thing to do,” Cameron said. “I believe in a responsible society, and that is responsibility exercised by everybody, including in the boardroom.”

Now this brings up a few interesting points. First, Cameron thinks more women should be on the boards of these financial companies but does he really think women as a gender would be able to lower salaries? I suppose he is saying that women bring in a more balanced view and in his words, more “responsible” view. This is a little harsh against his own sex but that is his own opinion. But women are always being told to fight for more money and get paid for what they are worth so would we really, if we were on the board of a big bank, be the ones to stand up and say these pay increases are not justified? Well, according to Cameron, the answer is yes. I don’t know if it is exactly true but it is interesting to think about the fact that if more women were on boards of financial companies we may not be in the mess we are in with Occupy Wall Street.

A report that came out today reminded us once again that women are lacking in those top positions at Wall Street companies. It was found that women held 15.9% of high-level leadership positions at the 100 biggest New York companies. Companies that had zero female female directors or executives in 2010 included Manhattan-based investment bank Jefferies and diversified management and holding company Griffon Corp., “Investment banks need to do more to attract women into the industry,” said Richard Khaleel, a spokesman for Jefferies. Last year, the firm launched an initiative to “bring more women into the business,” he said in a statement. “Over time we expect to see more women represented at the highest levels of company leadership, both at Jefferies and across the industry.”

In the U.S., women account for only 2.7% of the chief executives in the financial industry, and 16.8% of the executive officers, according to a study by Catalyst. FTSE 100 companies are already at 12.5% female representation on their boards but the numbers are weak for FTSE 250 companies at 7.8%. Even in the new film, Margin Call, which focuses on a group of people at a powerful New York investment bank that get wind of the impending financial crisis of 2008 in the 24 hours before disaster strikes. Demi Moore plays the lone female risk officer. Depressing but accurate. As Deal Journal writer Shira Ovide wrote:

“Senior female executives on Wall Street are like bald eagles: Majestic, but extremely rare. And each top woman who leaves or is forced from her post will spark anew the “whither women” questions and stories about why Wall Street is dominated by dudes. At this point, Wall Street would love a few more top-ranking women, if only to stop those pesky questions.

But it would be interesting to think if more women on the boards of these companies than a lot of current problems with the economy could have been prevented. As CEO of U.K.-based investment trust Alliance Trust Katherine Garrett-Cox said at the Women on Wall Street Conference earlier this month, “There’s chatter that if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters, perhaps it wouldn’t have unfolded.”

Photo: ”duckeesue /

Related posts:

Post from: TheGrindstone


Find Past Posts