State Street, the asset manager that became an unlikely champion of feminism after it installed the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, discriminated against hundreds of female executives by paying them less than male colleagues, according to US regulators.
The money manager, which oversees $2.6tn in assets, is paying $5m to settle charges that it underpaid about 300 women in its employ.
An audit by the US Department of Labor found that women in senior positions at the Boston-based company had received lower base salaries, bonuses and total compensation since at least December 2010.
The audit, by the office of federal contract compliance programmes (OFCCP), looked at pay scales between 2010 and 2011 and found that “statistically significant disparity in compensation remained even when legitimate factors affecting pay were taken into account”.
“State Street is committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are nondiscriminatory. While we disagreed with the OFCCP’s analysis and findings, we have cooperated fully with them, and made a decision to bring this six-year-old matter to resolution and move forward,” the company said in a statement.
The company came to global attention after commissioning artist Kristen Visbal to create a life-sized statue of a small girl, hands on hips, that was positioned facing off against Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull statue in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The statue, planted under cover of night, has drawn huge crowds and become a symbol for sexual equality for some. Democrat firebrand senator Elizabeth Warren is among those who have posed for pictures with the statue, captioning the image: “Fight like a girl.”
But the Fearless Girl has also been attacked as a meaningless marketing stunt. Arturo Di Modica, who sculpted the charging bull, has called it an “advertising trick” that infringes on his own copyright.
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