In her forward to the 2016 Virgin Money Empowering Productivity Report, the (then) economic secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin MP, stated: “In the UK economy, there are now record numbers of women in work, the gender pay gap is at a record low and has been almost completely eliminated for women under 40. Women now comprise 26 per cent of FTSE 100 Board members.”
Despite this, the report also showed that women account for just 14 per cent of executive committee members across UK-regulated financial services companies. What’s more, financial services is the country’s highest paid sector, but according to the Guardian, it has the widest gender pay gap, at 39.5 per cent, compared with 19.2 per cent across the economy. This means that for every pound earned by a man in financial services a woman earns just over 60p.
Fairstone Financial Management recognises the imbalance within the sector and is committed to developing a fully inclusive workforce at all levels. As a result, 50 per cent of the South Tyneside based firm’s senior management team are female and 33 per cent of its Chartered Board are women.
Fairstone CEO Lee Hartley said: “The gender imbalance within the financial services industry has been well documented. As a firm, we believe that the benefits of a more equal workforce are clear and we are committed to helping build a more balanced and fair industry.”
The issue is being addressed at a national level, and last March, several major UK banks including HSBC UK, Barclays Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, signed up to a new voluntary Women in Finance Charter, aimed at getting more women into senior roles in the finance industry.
As of July 2017, 141 firms have now signed the charter, representing more than 560,000 employees. Of these firms, two-thirds believe that signing the Treasury’s charter will lead to a permanent and sustainable change in gender diversity at senior levels across the industry.
Fairstone head of HR, Sharon Trainor, said: “As a firm we welcome this attitude shift within the financial services industry. We want to see a diverse sector led by talented men and women and we are committed to addressing the issue within our organisation.
“Fairstone has a strong culture of flexibility and inclusivity and we are passionate about supporting all of our people to fulfil their potential.”
Fairstone is passionate about nurturing top talent:
Amanda was one of the first to join the business back in 2008. Originally appointed as office manager, Amanda’s role has developed over the years and she is now part of the finance team and is working towards her Professional Diploma in Accounting.
Kiera began her Fairstone career as a business administration apprentice after leaving school in 2013. She currently leads the co-ordination of the firm’s extremely successful Key Partner Programme and manages a series of technical workshops for Fairstone’s advisers across the UK.
Supporting graduates is also a key part of the Fairstone ethos and through the Fairstone Academy, the firm offers a Trainee IFA role each year. Frances Abbott joined the programme in 2013 and went on to join the firm’s business development team, where she is responsible for identifying new prospects and integrating all new partner firms.
Fairstone is a national financial advisory and wealth management group based in South Tyneside.
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