Women in Banking: Goldman's Gender Imbalance; Barbie's Fed Ties

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Another Diversity Gap: Goldman Sachs has promoted 425 people to managing director, the firm's second highest non-executive title. About a quarter of them are women, up from 20% the last time around. Goldman's employee composition in the U.S. overall is 37% female — which means, even at a record 25%, the ratio of women in the new class of MDs lags. About 30% of the new class are millennials. Goldman has said in the past it's looking to fast-track some of its younger professionals as a way to encourage more of them to stay.

Not a Robo-Race: JPMorgan Chase competitors like Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley might be embracing robo-advisory services, but Mary Callahan Erdoes is skeptical about the value those types of services provide. Robo-advisers cannot judge when investors are being too timid or taking too much risk the way an experienced adviser can, says the CEO of JPMorgan's asset management unit. "Leaving that solely in the hands of an investor, it can work. It's unlikely to work as successfully in a bear market as it did in a bull market." However, if such services are getting newbies to invest, then that's "fantastic," says Erdoes, American Banker's Most Powerful Woman in Finance. Erdoes' comments about robo-advisory are a part of a 14-minute video interview that you can watch here.

Banker Barbie: Barbie has surprising ties to the Federal Reserve. Many sources identify Ruth Handler, who was on the board of directors at the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 1971 to 1974, as the first woman to serve on a Federal Reserve board. Handler also was one of the founders of the Mattel toy company and was the originator of the Barbie doll (her children's names are Barbara and Ken). The Fed has a few other Barbie connections too. In 2013, for example, an economic education specialist at the Fed — incidentally, her name was Barbara — created a lesson plan for 6- to 12-year-olds analyzing women's advancement in the workplace based on Barbie's careers. It so happens there's never been a banker Barbie; business executive is the closest she has come to a career in banking. (Speaking of Barbie, the new ad campaign for the doll features a boy for the first time ever.)

Role Call

Bankwell Financial Group in New Canaan, Conn., said chief operating officer Gail E. D. Brathwaite will resign from the company on Dec. 11. She has agreed to continue working with the bank as a consultant through June 30.

In Case You Missed It

Invest Like A Girl: What's the difference between the behavior of male and female investors? "Men will try to outperform; whereas women see investments as money to be managed and watched over," says Pedro Silva, a partner at Provo Financial Services. A study finds overconfidence drove men to trade stocks 45% more than women over a six-year period; trades lowered returns by 2.65 percentage points for men and 1.72 percentage points for women. Further, in another study of investors who connected their portfolios with robo-advisory SigFig, women's median net returns were 12% higher than men's — largely because men traded their portfolios 50% more than women.

Beyond Banking

The Problem with Women: An exposé on controversial whistleblowing media site Gawker has been making its way across social media. Written by former staffer Dayna Evans and edited by former interim editor-in-chief Leah Beckmann, the piece explores how women at the company have been enduring a sort of death by a thousand cuts that, taken all together, looks a whole lot like systemic sexism to them. "At workplaces where men are the bosses, it is hard to overcome unconscious social bias, and most men don't make it their business to try," Evans writes. "Value is determined by the people in charge." The article was originally slated to run on Gawker, but was pulled by executive editor John Cook. So it found a home on Medium. Unconscious bias is an issue across many industries — we talked about its impact on women in banking here.

Hollywood Women: The Hollywood Reporter is stirring controversy again, this time with a cover story that features eight white women who are Oscar contenders talking about the gender pay gap and other issues. ("In what industry do women receive equal pay for equal work? I can't think of any," says Cate Blanchett. Helen Mirren's thinking on how to effect a change is: "We've got to stop being polite.") The executive editor, Stephen Galloway, says the lack of diversity on the cover is due to the fact that no women of color are Oscar front-runners. You might recall that The Hollywood Reporter was in our newsletter last week, after announcing it would no longer assign rankings to the women on its famed Power 100 list.

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