BOSTON and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The momentum for disclosing gender pay gaps at major U.S. banks is moving at lightning speed. Six banks and financial institutions were targeted last year for gender pay disparity. Today, Wells Fargo became the third bank to agree to report on and work to close gender and racial pay gaps. In response, Arjuna Capital withdrew its gender pay shareholder proposal.
The first three banks to respond to shareholder pressure on gender pay equity all did so in the last three weeks. On January 15th, Citigroup was the first to take action. Bank of America took steps on January 25th to become the second leading U.S. financial institution to address shareholder concerns on gender and racial pay equity.
What Arjuna did in Silicon Valley – where eight of nine of the world's largest tech firms were pressed to disclose and close the gender pay gap – it is doing now on Wall Street. Arjuna Capital shifted its focus in 2017 to the treatment of women in finance. All of the targeted institutions -- Bank of America, MasterCard, American Express, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citi -- rejected shareholder proposals asking for detailed reports on the percentage pay gap between male and female employees across race and ethnicity, including base, bonus and equity compensation, policies to address that gap, the methodology used, and quantitative reduction targets.
This year, Arjuna Capital upped the ante, filing nine gender pay equity shareholder proposals at leading financial institutions, asking Citibank, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, AmEx, MasterCard, Reinsurance Group, and Progressive Insurance to publish their gender pay gaps.
With Citi, BofA and Wells Fargo seizing the initiative as the first three banks to act, the question now becomes which of the six remaining financial institutions will be laggards on gender pay equity.
Natasha Lamb, managing partner, Arjuna Capital said: "The flood gates are officially open for equal pay on Wall Street, marked by incredible developments over the last three weeks as big banks clamor to be among the first to address the gender pay gap. In rapid succession, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have announced steps to achieve equal pay. Today, we applaud Wells Fargo for working collaboratively to meet investor concerns. It's a win for the company, it's employees, and investors who reap the performance benefits of greater diversity. As the third largest bank in the U.S., Wells Fargo's equal pay commitment should prove influential across the industry."
Mike Branca, Head of Compensation at Wells Fargo said: "Releasing the results of our most recent study highlights Wells Fargo's on-going commitment to equitable pay for our team members and our commitment to attracting, developing, and retaining top talent. We will continue to evaluate team member compensation and make changes when warranted to pay our team members fairly and equitably and remain competitive in the marketplace."
The Arjuna Capital gender pay shareholder resolution Wells Fargo is available online at: http://arjuna-capital.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Arjuna-Capital_WFC-Shareholder-Proposal_Gender-Pay-Equity-1-2018.pdf. Wells Fargo's disclosure is available at: https://stories.wf.com/wells-fargo-releases-pay-equity-study-results/. And the letter withdrawing the resolution at Wells Fargo is available at: http://bit.ly/WFwithdrawalletter.
The financial services sector has been under scrutiny for a lack of female representation in senior roles despite a majority of female employees. In the UK, where employers are required to publish their gender pay gaps by April, banking peers have reported median pay gaps averaging 24 percent.
Arjuna Capital is an investment firm focused on sustainable and impact investing. Lamb and Arjuna Capital have been recognized for using shareholder resolutions to promote gender pay equity in the tech, banking, and retail sectors. Natasha Lamb was named to the "Bloomberg 50" list of influencers who defined global business in 2017. For more information, visit www.Arjuna-Capital.com.
SOURCE Arjuna Capital and Wells Fargo