BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group

May 03, 2016 10:04 ET

BMO Recognized in Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index

Measures the Bank's Strong Commitment to Gender Equality

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 3, 2016) - BMO Financial Group today announced that it is one of 26 firms recognized in the 2016 Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI). The new index provides investors and organizations with standardized aggregate data across company gender statistics; employee policies; gender-conscious product offerings; and external community support and engagement.

"For more than two decades BMO has been committed to creating an equitable and inclusive workplace," said Sonya Kunkel, Chief Inclusion Officer and Vice-President, People Strategies and Insight, BMO Financial Group. "Through progressive practices that systematically identify and remove barriers to inclusion and fairness, we have created a workplace in which embracing diversity has become a set of behaviours that our people live every day."

Companies included on this year's index scored at or above 60 points, a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect disclosure and the achievement or adoption of best-in-class statistics and policies. BMO's BFGEI score was 81.79 compared to companies whose scores ranged from 63 to 87.

All companies on the list have made requisite progress with respect to their internal diversity practices and policies, however BMO's efforts to encourage gender diversity outside of the bank, to help female clients manage their wealth and women pursue successful careers within financial services, garnered additional notice and praise from the judges:

  • BMO has created a Women in Leadership Fund which invests in North American companies that have a female CEO or a board of directors with at least 25 per cent female representation. As the first impact-investing mutual fund offered by a Canadian bank, the BMO Women in Leadership Fund provides investors with the ability to promote change by rewarding gender-diverse companies.
  • In November 2014, BMO announced the creation of an additional $2 billion in credit available to women entrepreneurs over the next three years.
  • In July 2014, BMO Nesbitt Burns launched a new webpage designed to educate and recruit women for investment advisory roles, becoming the first financial institution in Canada to offer a webpage exclusively focused on educating women about opportunities within the financial services industry.
  • GroYourBiz - BMO is a founding and leading partner. GroYourBiz™ was developed for women entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level by drawing upon the skills, expertise, inspiration and energy of like-minded individuals who offer practical solutions.
  • Women and Money Seminar - BMO's Life Transition Expert, Dr. Amy D'Aprix, hosts these seminars across the country discussing how women can improve their relationship with money and become more confident and in control of their financial life.

In 2012, BMO established a "diversity renewal agenda" where each line of business created action plans to increase the diversity of their talent pools and succession slates. These initiatives were not just aimed at aggressive workforce goals - such as 40% female representation in the bank's senior leadership ranks - but also shifting the mindset and culture throughout the enterprise.

The program, which held leaders accountable for finding and advancing women in their own talent pools, garnered strong leadership commitment and gave birth to sponsorship programs that support the development of high-potential women:

  • BMO's Board of Directors is now 1/3 women.
  • Representation of women in BMO's senior leadership roles is now at 39.3%.
  • In BMO Capital Markets, there has been a steady increase of female Managing Directors from 12% in 2012 to 17% today.

"Drawing on different perspectives of leaders and employees makes us more innovative as a company," said Ms. Kunkel. "These initiatives are working, and not just in achieving better business performance, but also in keeping BMO working continually to address the underlying attitudes that get in the way of progress."

"We hope the BFGEI encourages more firms to disclose and discuss gender equality in the workplace," said Bloomberg L.P. Chairman Peter T. Grauer. "Better support for female employees is crucial to building and developing a diverse workforce - and it's key to remaining competitive in today's global business environment."

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $699 billion as of January 31, 2016, and close to 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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