Barclays promotes mostly men to investment bank managing director

FILE PHOTO: A branch of Barclays Bank is seen, in London

By Stefania Spezzati, Lawrence White and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) -Barclays has promoted 85 people to managing director (MD) in its investment bank, it said on Thursday, with by far the majority of the coveted titles this year being taken by men.

Banks have come under pressure for a poor track record on gender equality, particularly in their senior ranks, and Britain’s finance sector has one of the biggest gender pay gaps.

Based on professional social media accounts online reviewed by Reuters, around 85% of the staff promoted in its investment bank in this year’s list are male.

“We are committed to a long term plan that includes developing a strong female MD pipeline through accelerated development programmes and ensuring there is senior leader accountability for making meaningful progress against our gender ambitions,” a spokesperson for the bank said.

Barclays did not give guidance on how many of those promoted were women, which has been a source of criticism in past years. Nor did it give a breakdown of which part of the investment bank those promoted worked in, as it had in previous years.

With women making up around just 15% of the promotions, the figures show Barclays taking a backward step in this.

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In 2018, when Barclays broke out the gender breakdown of its promotions, 27% were women, up from 23% the year before.

Meanwhile, Barclays Bank PLC, which houses the lender’s investment bank, had a mean average pay gap of 43% in favour of men in 2021, the bank’s pay gap report states.

Barclays has said it aims for 33% of managing directors and directors to be female by 2025. The figure stood at 28% globally as of the end of last year, according to the bank’s 2021 diversity and inclusion report.

The promotions come a day after Barclays announced a senior management reshuffle, promoting the head of its consumer banking business Alistair Currie to chief operating officer.

Barclays’ investment bank has been a source of contention in recent years, after previous CEO Jes Staley fended off an activist investor who wanted the unit shrunk.

Recent performances have tended to vindicate the investment bank, as in the third quarter this year, when a fixed income trading boom helped it beat market estimates.

(Reporting by Stefania Spezzati, Lawrence White and Iain Withers; Editing by Alexander Smith and Josie Kao)