“The Central Bank will continue to place a spotlight on diversity in the financial services sector” – Governor Gabriel Makhlouf

10 March 2020 Press Release

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Central Bank received 4,500 applications in 2019 for senior roles in financial services firms, broken down by gender, age and nationality published in Demographic Analysis today.
  • Percentage of applications for regulatory approval for female appointments to senior level roles continues to slowly improve - from 24% of applications in 2018 to 26% in 2019.
  • Significant lack of gender diversity at senior levels remains in regulated firms.

The Central Bank of Ireland has today published a Demographic Analysis of over 4,500 applications for approval to occupy senior roles within regulated firms in Ireland under the Fitness and Probity regime (F&P) in 2019. The Central Bank has committed to publishing Demographic Analysis on an annual basis as part of its continued focus on diversity in regulated firms. This is the fourth such publication.

The report breaks down the applications for regulatory approval by gender, age and nationality. For the first time we also publish the composition of boards and management teams in the larger banks,  insurers and asset management firms as of 31 December 2019.

Key developments in terms of applications include:

  • In 2019, 26% of applicants were female, compared to 24% in 2018 and 16% in 2012.
  • Female applications for board level positions increased by 4 percentage points from 20% in 2018 to 24% in 2019.
  • The credit union sector demonstrated a material increase in female applications, with 37% of all applications in 2019, up from a share of 27% in 2018.
  • The majority of applicants for PCF roles were Irish (63%), with UK nationals holding the second largest portion of applications (18%).

Key developments for current role holders:

  • The lack of diversity is more pronounced in the incumbent role-holders – men hold 87% of current PCF positions in the largest asset management firms, 80% in the largest banks and 74% in the largest insurers.
  • There continues to be a pronounced gender imbalance at board level and in revenue generating roles. Men hold 85% of revenue generating roles.
  • The majority of applicants for PCF roles were Irish (63%), with UK nationals holding the second largest portion of applications (18%).

Governor Makhlouf said “The benefits of diversity and inclusion are well documented. Research shows that firms with more diverse leadership teams are likely to be more resilient and more profitable. Moreover, improving the approach to diversity and inclusion will contribute to improving the cultures of financial services firms.

“Last year there were some improvements in the gender balance of applications in certain sectors. However, the pace of change remains disappointing. More work is needed to enhance diversity at senior levels across the entire financial services industry.

“We will shortly publish the findings of a recent review of the insurance sector. This work gives us a deeper understanding of firms’ policies and insight into activities to enhance diversity. It also allows us to see if firms are truly committed to turning the dial. In 2020, our attention is turning to the asset management and investment-banking sector.

“Given the importance of diversity and inclusion to the culture and resilience of financial services firms, we will continue to place a spotlight on the need for improvement".