Pantheon signs charter to promote gender diversity in senior roles

HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter now has 300 signatures, including a handful of private equity firms.

Pantheon was among a handful of private equity firms last month to sign HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, a document committing financial services firms to building gender diversity in senior positions.

Thirty-three companies, including two other PE firms – Earth Capital Partners and Graphite Capital – signed on November 20, bringing the total number of signatories to 300.

Firms that sign the charter are asked to implement four key industry actions: designate one member of their senior executive team to be responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management; publish progress annually against those targets in reports on their website; and have an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these targets.

Pantheon has regularly published gender diversity data since January 2016.

“Firms who are committed to building diverse teams and which are true believers in the value of fostering an inclusive culture should consider signing in my view,” Paul Ward, managing partner at Pantheon, told pfm. “We believe it sends a strong signal to our team and to our clients and stakeholders that we embrace diversity as a business priority and that we are willing to hold ourselves to a publicly stated standard.”

Private equity firms have signaled a greater dedication to diversity in recent months. In October, Carlyle Group appointed Kara Helander to the newly-created position of chief diversity officer, pfm reported.

Meanwhile, membership in advocacy group Level 20, founded in 2015 with the goal of increasing the proportion of women in senior roles across the European private equity industry to 20 percent by 2020, has grown to more than 1,800.

A report by the BVCA and Level 20 released in May, which surveyed 179 private equity firms representing around 5,000 employees, found that just 6 percent of senior investment team roles are held by women.

Women comprise only 29 percent of the private equity workforce, compared to 48 percent of the wider UK labor force.