Finance used to be thought of as a male domain, a place where competitiveness and the ability to make hard-headed decisions were the key virtues, and where it was assumed that women could never be sufficiently ambitious or tough.
Over the last few decades, an increasing number of women have been proving this wrong. These are some you should know about.
A senior advisor at HarbourVest and former managing director of its London office, Kathleen Bacon has previously worked as an advisor for several leading private equity partnerships. She’s overseen lending at the First National Bank of Boston and she currently sits on HarbourVest’s global and European investment committees and well as chairing its ESG committee.
She graduated with an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and now sits on the council of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Keen to help others facing a similar climb, she became one of the founding members of Level20, an organisation focused on supporting women who are trying to build careers in the field of private equity.
Widely considered to be one of the most powerful women in the world, Ho Ching, whose husband is the Prime Minister of Singapore, is CEO of Temasek Holdings and oversees $308bn of investments. After graduating in engineering at Stanford she began her career at the Singaporean Ministry of Defence and within just seven years had worked her way up to become its director of procurement. She later served as Chair of Singapore Technologies Engineering and chaired the island nation’s Productivity and Standards Board and Economic Development Board before going on to inspire and organise the expansion of Temasek into an investment firm with global reach. She also invests privately and has a philanthropic interest in special needs education, helping others to achieve their potential.
Co-head of JP Morgan’s European strategic investors group and former head of its UK banking operations, Ina De has also served as co-head of Equity Capital Markets for EMEA, where she was known for her active approach to developing and executing equity deals. Over the course of her career at JP Morgan, she has won praise for her work on rights issues and IPOs and she has also worked in derivatives research and headed a team dealing with debt capital markets, giving her an unusually broad skill base within the field of finance. She has encouraged the company to address issues around social mobility and to create pathways for young people from all backgrounds to pursue finance careers.
Lady Barbara Judge
At various times Chair of the Institute of Directors, the Pension Protection Fund and fraud prevention agency Cifas, Lady Barbara Judge (pictured above) has enjoyed a lengthy career in the finance sector and has even served as a business ambassador for her adopted country, the UK. Born in Manhattan, she graduated from New York University with a degree in law, specialising in the legal side of financial transactions, and she spent five years as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, during which time she succeeded in opening up the Tokyo Stock Exchange to foreign investors. She is active as a private investor with a particular interest in the tech sector and she has supported a range of initiatives focused on encouraging female entrepreneurs.
Though she’s best known for taking legal action to ensure that Parliament would have a say on Brexit, Gina Miller is also a big player in the world of finance. She was a co-founder of SCM direct and the founder of MoneyShe, which focuses on female investors. She has also run a financial services marketing agency and she made a name for herself within the industry as a campaigner taking on investment companies over hidden charges, even taking on the Financial Conduct Authority over its hesitation about disclosing its approach to applying European regulations pertaining to fees. With an MSC in Human Resource Management, she has proven herself to be particularly adept at managing the interface between money and human behaviour.
One of the rapidly growing areas in finance is security, and nowhere more so than in the world of trading. As global head of risk and surveillance solutions at Nasdaq, Valerie Bannert-Thurner manages a 130-strong team dedicated to identifying and analysing illegal activity, and supplies surveillance software to over 1,700 compliance officers. Her achievements include the acquisition of fintech company Sybenetix. She has initiated work with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and overseen her company’s first engagement with the cryptocurrency markets. With a pHd in strategic management from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, she previously worked for Skyler technology and FTEN, she has written extensively on fintech and risk and she is a frequent speaker at industry conferences around the world.
Although women are still significantly underrepresented in finance, more and more opportunities are opening up. Today’s girls should look at the sector as a place where they, too, could carve out successful careers.