Despite progressive legislation, gender inequality and abuse remain challenges. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)
INTERNATIONAL - Men dominate the largest financial institutions globally even as their executives say they’re trying to make Wall Street welcoming for women.

The situation is even worse at family offices, outfits which manage money for the world’s richest people.

Women account for 9.1% of chief executive officers and just 8.6% of chief investment officers, according to a report on Tuesday by UBS Group AG and researcher Campden Wealth.

By comparison, 19% of C-suite executives in the asset-management and wholesale-banking industry are women, said McKinsey & Co.

“A lot of the professionals you can hire as your CEOs and CIOs of a family office come from the financial-services industry, where women are under-represented,” said Sara Ferrari, head of global family office at Zurich-based UBS.

What’s more, some families have a traditional view “of women’s involvement in certain investment activities as opposed to more philanthropic activities,” she said.

The situation could improve as a generational shift takes place and younger family members decide who looks after the finances.

“Women across regions, but in particular in Asia, are having an increasing role in generating their own wealth and managing wealth in subsequent generations,” Ferrari said.

Only 14% of family offices in the study say they have diversity targets, a level that’s below efforts by Wall Street. More than 4 in 10 offices that participated in impact investing said they were supporting companies that favour “women’s empowerment.”

Within family offices, the chief executive and chief investment officers’ roles are the most lucrative, with base salaries of $333000 (R4.71m) and $312000 respectively.

The positions also receive the highest bonuses, according to the report. Women account for 39percent of chief operations officers and 38percent of chief financial officers, positions that pay about a third less.