In just two short paragraphs among 60-odd pages of consultation documents, the City regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, has outlined plans in recent weeks for the biggest financial services firms to set a "target for gender representation on the management body".
"This is intended to improve diversity within firms' management bodies," says the document – published because the UK has to implement a crucial European directive.
The document provides few clues about which firms will be required to set a target, what the target should be or precisely what it means by "management bodies". It is likely to apply to just a handful of the biggest players.
The demand from Brussels comes just weeks after the recommendation by the independent commission on banking standards that banks conduct an audit of the number of women on their "overwhelmingly male" trading floors. It also follows Lord Davies' recommendations on gender balance when he called for 25% female representation in FTSE 100 boardrooms by 2015. But Davies' recommendation is voluntary, while the government has only adopted the audit of trading floors as "best practice".
The PRA, however, has clout when adopting the EU directive. It is a moment for the regulator to demonstrate that it will not tolerate glib statements of intent that make little difference in practice.
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