Bloomberg News

Canada’s Banks Miss Profits Overlooking Women, Group Says

May 30, 2012

Canada’s capital markets firms could boost earnings and gain new perspectives by promoting women to management, according to a report released today.

Women represent about 10 percent of managing directors and higher ranks at such companies, and the industry made “virtually no gains” in the past decade in promoting women to senior positions, according to the study commissioned by nonprofits Catalyst and Women In Capital Markets. A more diverse workplace would lower turnover and improve profitability, said the groups, which surveyed about 100 people at Canadian banks and other firms from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19.

“Leaders, talent managers and professionals need to renew action plans to close the gaps,” said Deborah Gillis, a senior vice president at Catalyst. “It is costing the Canadian capital markets the ability to genuinely attract, advance and hold on to the most talented women.”

Catalyst, an organization founded in 1962 that advances and supports female leaders in business, and Toronto-based Women In Capital Markets said that investment banks, brokerages and other companies should adopt plans that include establishing program sponsorships and greater networking.

“To be most effective, this plan must inject extra scrutiny to ensure fairness in decision-making, zero-tolerance for poor management and accountability for leadership behavior,” Martha Fell, chief executive officer of Women In Capital Markets, said in a statement.

‘Vital Link’

Robert Dorrance, CEO of TD Securities Inc., the top arranger of Canadian stock sales in 2011, said his firm is taking steps to recruit women.

“We agree more has to be done to hire and promote women leaders,” Dorrance said in an e-mail. “In addition, we have a three-year plan in place inside the dealer aimed at recruitment, retention and advancement of women and will be leveraging the findings in the report released today.”

Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, is the second-largest financial-services center in North America behind New York, according to the Toronto Financial Services Alliance. It is home to Canada’s five biggest banks, including Royal Bank of Canada (RY), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Men at all levels of firms should help to develop the strategies, and companies should “promote the vital link between gender diversity and business results amongst all employees,” the nonprofits said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.


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