How South African women are breaking the boys’ club in investment banking

Anel Bosman.

Provided by Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banki

Investment banking is the pressure cooker of the financial services industry. Billions are at stake. On the trading desks, massive losses and gains can be made in a fraction of a second. For corporate negotiators, long hours — often after midnight — can be the norm, especially if customers are in different time zones. There is a lot of stress, competition and demands. It’s also super lucrative.

But investment and corporate banking generally have fewer women than in other financial services sectors. Many take a step back at the height of their career, realizing they can’t do it after a sleepless night with a grumpy baby. Some begin to retreat as they begin to plan their families. Others decide to choose a career over family.

Investec’s head of people and organization Lesley-Anne Gatter said it was understandable that women might have thought the investment and corporate banking space was not accommodating, but so many things have changed. The context and complexity of these areas meant that there was an “always on” mentality expected of employees, coupled with high pressure to execute agreements.

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