Of Special Interest


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30th March 2012

Report finds women bankers bigger risk takers

A paper published by the Deutsche Bundesbank found women bankers to be higher risk takers than men in conducting business. Research was carried out on individuals between 1994 and 2010. The paper carried a caveat that the conclusions were not necessary the views of the central bank.

A number of possible explanations for the difference were put forward aside from the obvious one. It was noted the sample of women were significantly less experienced than the male group. Secondly, it was suggested the price a women may have to pay for a bank board nomination "could also include accepting a higher risk exposure".

The paper comes at a time various European countries have already set minimum quotas for women on the boards of large companies and many more, including Germany, are actively debating the idea. In addition the European Union is
working towards an EU wide minimum number of women for the boards of large organisations. The EU quotes research from McKinsey that found companies having boards with a larger proportion of women members were significantly more profitable than those that did not.

Whilst there are many reasonable doubts as to whether women bankers are necessarily higher risk takers when all other factors are made equal, the paper does perhaps give cause to question whether the widespread assumption that women are lower risk takers is in fact true. There may also be the separate debate as to whether there is a gender difference between different types of risk activity.