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Krawcheck slams Morgan Stanley for lack of women in leadership

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Sallie Krawcheck, who runs an investing platform focused on women, sparked a debate among hundreds of readers on LinkedIn with an observation that Morgan Stanley’s newly appointed managing directors were almost all male.

Krawcheck posted a photo showing 46 names of financial advisors in the firm’s wealth management division with the comment, “Feels like something is missing from this list of new managing directors ... what could it be?”

Only three of the people were women.

Readers have posted about 500 comments reflecting a wide range of opinions. Some expressed disappointment with how few women were promoted to a higher rank, despite their ability to pull in millions of assets as financial advisors; others said Krawcheck’s post was paranoid or her analysis was incomplete. One reader pointed out that the list of managing directors across the bank had more women listed than the wealth management list implied.

Krawcheck, who competed with Morgan Stanley when she ran the wealth management arm of Bank of America, now runs Ellevest, a female-focused online investing platform. She also previously was head of global wealth management at Citigroup.

She’s long sought to spotlight the lack of women in senior roles on Wall Street and across the broader financial industry. It causes bigger problems, undermining diversity of thought and increasing risks, even on a systemic level, she wrote in an op-ed to the New York Times in December.

Promotions for financial advisors at Morgan Stanley are based on revenue over a period of three years, according to a person familiar with the matter. The wealth management division elevated more women than just the advisors. About 40% of employees promoted in the overall group, which includes operations and legal staff, were women, said spokeswoman Christine Jockle.

The debate on Krawcheck’s post may be a preview of what’s to come as Morgan Stanley, along with other big global banks, are preparing to disclose the difference between compensation for their U.K.-based male and female employees.

The U.K. government is requiring companies with 250 or more employees to report the gap between what men and women make on average, a measure that often reflects the fact that men earn more because they’re over-represented in higher-paying roles.

For example, Barclays filed its required disclosures last week, becoming the first big global bank to do so. It revealed that women earn on average 48% less than men do, a figure that partly reflects the fact that less than one-third of its senior managers are women, according to company figures.

Bloomberg News