Women in Finance Charter

At OSB Group we believe strongly in diversity and equality in our workforce. As such, in January 2017, we became a proud signatory of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter; a voluntary commitment to work with the Government to build towards gender equality at all levels of our organisation.

By becoming a signatory of the Charter, we have pledged to be one of the best businesses in the sector in terms of gender equality.

Why was the Charter introduced?

Women in Finance Charter

The Women in Finance Charter was introduced as part of the Government’s aspiration to improve gender equality in the UK economy. As both the highest paid sector in the country and the sector in which the pay gap is the most stark, the financial services industry received its own review into the representation of women in senior management roles.

What does the Charter require?

The Charter:

  • Commits firms to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level.
  • Recognises the diversity of the sector and that firms will have different start points – each firm should therefore set its own targets and implement the right strategy for their organisation.
  • Requires firms to publicly report on progress to deliver against these internal targets, supporting the transparency and accountability needed to drive change.

What has OSB Group pledged to achieve?

We're committed to increasing the representation of women undertaking senior positions within our organisation as we firmly believe that greater diversity strengthens the capabilities of our managers and positively impacts our employees.

As such, our target is that 33% of all senior management positions within OSB Group in the UK will be undertaken by female employees by the end of 2023.

Alongside this target:

  • Jason Elphick, Group Counsel and Company Secretary, has been nominated as the senior executive with responsibility and accountability for gender diversity.
  • We'll publish progress annually against our target here on our website.
  • We'll ensure the pay of our senior executive team is linked to delivery against our gender diversity target.

2021 Update

When OSB first signed up to the Women in Finance Charter (WIFC) in January 2017, there were 16 female employees undertaking senior management positions out of a population of 67 (23.9%).

Following the combination with Charter Court Financial Services, and the associated doubling of our employee base, the Group’s initial WIFC target of ensuring that 30% of UK senior management positions were undertaken by women by the end of 2020 became a single, Group-wide target.

At the end of 2020, the Group was exceptionally close to achieving this target, with 29.8% of senior roles being undertaken by women, and there being a period prior to the end of the year where the 30% target had been reached.

We’ve now increased our target, committing to ensure that 33% of UK senior management positions are undertaken by women by the end of 2023.

There’s been significant progress throughout 2021 and as at the end of July, female employees make up 34.2% of our senior (Grade A to E) population. We’re also proud that four of our nine (44.4%) Board members are female.

In recent years, our progress has been achieved as a result of a significantly increased level of focus on gender diversity, the provision of detailed monthly management information and regular activity progress updates to the Executive Committee, the Nominations and Governance Committee and the OSB Board.

The Group has and will continue to always make promotion or recruitment decisions based on performance, competence and expertise. However, we’ve made changes to our Group recruitment and selection procedures to ensure that when undertaking internal or external recruitment for senior management positions, a high level of focus is placed on establishing gender diverse candidate lists.

In line with this, there’s a mandatory requirement that for all Group-wide senior management vacancies, at least one credible female candidate must be subject to a face to face interview before the recruitment process can proceed, with any exceptions to this requirement requiring Executive approval. Last year we also introduced the need to have a senior female as part of the selection process for all senior recruitment processes in order to minimise any risk of potential unconscious bias, and also to reflect a female-strong culture to candidates being interviewed.

We’ve been proactive in seeking to better support the longer term development and internal progression of our existing female employees through to senior management. Our Diversity and Inclusion Working Group has held gender-related and extremely well attended events and we’re proud that the vast majority (80%) of internal promotions into senior management positions during 2021 have related to female employees.

Whilst it’s extremely positive that the current percentage of female employees undertaking senior management positions exceeds our end of 2023 target, we’re overtly aware that the majority of our senior recruitment activities will relate to specialist roles where the potential candidate bases are overwhelmingly male dominant.

As such, maintaining our current percentage will pose a genuine challenge, however we believe that we’re on the right track and that our approaches and level of focus are both appropriate and proportionate.