Seventy-two organisations in the UK have signed up to a government Charter designed to improve gender diversity in senior positions in the financial services sector.

The Women in Finance Charter commits firms in the sector to link board-level bonuses to targets on gender diversity.

Led by HM Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority, insurers, retail banks, asset managers and mutuals have agreed to set internal targets on diversity among senior management, publish annual progress reports and to appoint a senior executive responsible for diversity and inclusion.

The Charter is based on recommendations made by Virgin Money chief executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who led a review of women in senior executive position in the financial services.

Ms Gadhia said around 23% of positions on boards in the financial services were occupied by women, but only 14% were on executive committees.

Harriett Baldwin, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury said: “It is fantastic that 72 firms have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter. By signing the Charter, firms are committing to driving change at the senior levels of the male-dominated financial services industry.

“Such widespread commitment to the Charter will make a genuine difference to gender diversity in financial services and I am delighted to celebrate this today.

“This is just one part of the government’s broader ambition to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and ensure that women everywhere are able to fulfil their potential.”

Jayne-Anne Ghadia said: “I am delighted by the large number of financial services firms who have signed the HMT Women in Finance Charter. They include firms from across the UK financial services sector, with large investment banks, retail banks, asset managers and insurers amongst the signatories.

“I am convinced that the large number, as well as the diversity of firms who have signed the Charter, marks a significant turning-point in the battle for a more balanced and fair industry. It demonstrates that a growing number of Chief Executives and Boards within the sector are taking the issue seriously and recognise the strong link between greater gender balance and improved productivity and performance.”