Wall Street Culture Has `Cleaned Up,' BofA Vice Chair Says

(Bloomberg) -- Wall Street has set aside its boys’ club reputation and become more accommodating of women, including in terms of paying them the same wage as their male counterparts, Bank of America Corp. Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said.

“It’s been cleaned up,” Finucane Tuesday said in an interview with Bloomberg Television from the site of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “You can’t legislate individual behavior, but you can create a culture that’s intolerant of behavior. And I think we’ve done that.”

The #MeToo movement has spread to many industries over the course of the last few months, prompting women to share their stories of sexual misconduct and gender inequity. While powerful men have been pushed out of jobs in media, the arts, politics, academia and the restaurant business because women spoke up to allege egregious behavior, Wall Street stories have remained fairly rare.

Finucane said that when executives “find something like that, we weed it out pretty quickly.”

Over the weekend, news emerged that a senior executive in the bank’s prime-brokerage unit left the firm after it began investigating an accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct by a woman in her 20s. Omeed Malik, 38, departed after the bank conducted a roughly three-week inquiry that included interviews with other staff who brought up additional concerns, Bloomberg News and other media outlets reported. Malik declined to comment on Saturday.

“I’m not saying there isn’t an individual that is not going to do something rogue that I don’t like or someone else doesn’t like,” Finucane said Tuesday, speaking broadly about the #MeToo movement’s potential impact on Wall Street. “I just think that we as an industry had a lot of difficult years, and we have learned from that.”

She also said that BofA has made progress in closing the gap between how much women are paid to perform the same jobs as their male colleagues. Female employees receive 99 percent of what men are paid, Finucane said, adding that the bank and its consultants are continuing to study the issue.

Citigroup Inc. said last week it analyzed total compensation of its employees in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, and found that women on average also earned 99 percent of men’s pay. It pledged to close that gap.

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