Why diversity in Finance matters ?


On June 17, Women in Finance and National Bank of Belgium organized a colloquium on “Gender in Finance : Why Diversity Matters”.

“It is an issue!” says Christine Van Rijsseghem, Chief Risk Assessment Officer at KBC Bank and president of Women in Finance. At the moment in Belgium, only 25% of the top positions are held by women. “Even when women makes it to the very top of an organisation, their voices aren’t always heard”, adds Marcia De Wachter, ex-Director of the National Bank of Belgium.

According to Alexander De Croo, Minister of Finance and Development Coordination, the statistics show that organizations who are more gender diverse have better results, handle better risks and take better decisions. He swiftly announced reforms to the central bank’s governance structures, while lawmaker Griet Smaers drafted a proposal that would introduce a legal gender quota of 33%. That would apply at not just the central bank’s management bodies but also at the Court of Audit and the financial industry regulator FMSA.



Gender Diversity in Finance Charter - Nationale Bank van België

During the event, 25 companies, representing more than 85% of the country’s financial industry, signed the Gender Diversity in Finance Charter. They commit to appointing a diversity and inclusion manager, measuring their gender data, to develop an action plan with concrete and realistic goals aimed at improving gender balance and to communicate their progress.

Ann Caluwarts, Chief Corporate Affairs at Telenet, emphasized the fact that the Financial sector is known to have a lot of inflow of female students coming from universities. But those graduates don’t seem to get to the top organizations. That’s why it’s important that those organisations sign the commitment.

The financial industry has never before faced so many challenges – from stringent new regulations implemented in the wake of the banking crisis, to rapid digitalization requiring new business approaches.

The financial industry has never before faced so many challenges – from stringent new regulations implemented in the wake of the banking crisis, to rapid digitalization requiring new business approaches.


This summer of 2019 has seen a wave of female appointed CEOs and leaders in the financial world.


Indeed, the management committees of the financial world are becoming more feminine. This wave began in France with the unanimous appointment of the new President of the FFA, the French Insurance Federation, Florence Lustman, in June. The new president, who will officially take office on October, 1st 2019, has already announced her ambitions: to federate the various insurance structures (insurance companies, bank-insurers and mutual insurers), to restore the public image of insurers, and to put the insurance back at the heart of public debate, by further strengthening the Federation’s lobbyist dimension.

The 20th of June, the private bank Puilaetco & Dewaay (part of the KBL epb group), with €10 billion in assets under management, appointed Ludivine Pilate, former COO and CFO, as CEO. The Solvay Alumni has worked in consultancy before joining UBS in 2013, later bought by Puilaetco & Dewaay.

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At the beginning of July, the announcement of the new President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, has caused a turmoil. The future former President of the IMF will step down in September 2019 and take over from Mario Draghi in October.

Then, mid-July, Accenture announced the appointment of its new CEO: Julie Sweet. The Californian Columbia Alumni began her career as a lawyer before joining this consultancy behemoth almost 10 years ago. She takes over the French former CEO, Pierre Nanterme, who passed away in January. Julie Sweet has always been vocal about women’s right and equality, and her nomination is, in this almost only masculine S&P500 index, quite a symbol.

We can only applaud this step closer towards parity. Summer is not over yet, let’s wait and see what else it has in store for us.



Sources :


(EN) Belgian Finance Forum | June 20, 2019 

(EN) The Bulletin | June 24, 2019

(FR) Argus de l’Assurance | 04/07/2019

(FR) L’Echo | 21/06/2019

(FR) Les Echos | 03/07/2019

(FR) Les Echos | 12/07/2019