Women on Boards
Fewer than a quarter of board members are female Getty

Only 13% of executive directors of companies in the European capital markets are female, new research has revealed. A study by think tank New Financial has found that the number of female board members is still below international standards and there is a big gap between executive and non-executive representation.

Across European capital markets, only 23% of board members are female, below the UK's former voluntary target of 25%. Since the Women on Boards Review by Lord Mervyn Davies achieved the target, it has been lifted to 33% but the European capital markets are lacking behind.

"It is really encouraging to see the numbers are moving in the right direction, but the industry must continue to work hard to maintain this momentum and accelerate the pace of change," Yasmine Chinwala, partner at New Financial and author of the report, said. "I firmly believe that this data can help inform the debate around women in financial services and challenge the industry to make progress."

New Financial also found that, if the capital markets industry would set a voluntary target of 33% of female board members, like the new target set for the boards of FTSE 100 companies after the Davies Review, it would take around six years to achieve. However, it would take more than 10 years to achieve a 25% gender target for executive committees.

The think tank collected information from 220 companies across Europe, across 11 sectors. The data was collected between July and October 2015. The study revealed that more than half of capital markets companies surveyed employed between 0% and 15% women on their executive committees.

The percentage of women on boards has increased by three percentage points over the last year, while the proportion of women on executive committees only edged up by one percentage points. However, New Financial said that the numbers were moving in the right direction, arguing that boards have improved over the last years.