Fintech's dirty little secret: Gender diversity

Fintech's dirty little secret: Gender diversity

Fintech startups may be promising a bright new future for financial services, but they are not averse to a spot of old-school legacy thinking when it comes to board-level female representation.

A study by recruitment firm Astbury Martin indicates that leading fintech companies are trailing behind their peers in terms of diversity at the top, with women occupying fewer than one in ten (9%) of board seats at UK Top 50 fintech businesses.

The analysis shows that women in fintech businesses are significantly under-represented at board level compared to Silicon Roundabout’s technology companies, where boards are comprised of 18% women on average.

It points out that FTSE 100 companies are now also far more diverse, having recently achieved the 25% female board representation target set by the Government-sponsored Davies Report back in 2011.

The research found that more than two-thirds (69%) of the fintech boards studied are made up of men only, in contrast to FTSE100 companies which have no all-male boards.

Adam Jackson, managing director at Astbury Marsden, says: “Placing more emphasis on creating a broader spectrum of viewpoints at the top could benefit the industry in many ways, but there are also potential risks in failing to address diversity. It’s not an issue fintech firms should ignore.”

Lloyds Banking Group is setting a positive example, opening the doors of its digital hub in London last week to host up to 80 'femtech' leaders from across the fintech community.

Says Jackson: “Given that a well-balanced board is now widely seen as essential, with stakeholders increasingly expecting to see companies focussing on diversity, the fintech industry needs to be seen to do more.”

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