• Motto

Women on Wall Street Face Harsher Punishment Than Men for Misconduct

2 minute read

Female financial advisers on Wall Street are more likely to be fired for misconduct than their male counterparts, a new study shows according to CNBC.

“When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct” was released earlier this week, and shows a marked difference between the way misconduct cases are handled based on gender.

According to the study, “female advisers are 20% more likely to lose their jobs, and 30% less likely to find new jobs relative to male advisers” after an indiscretion. Plus, even though women engage in “less costly misconduct” and aren’t as likely to be repeat offenders, they are punished more severely. Women are also more likely to be reported from within their own firm than by clients or regulators.

The paper pointed to a brokerage unit of Wells Fargo as the “worst place to be a woman with a disciplinary problem,” according to CNBC. There, women were 27% more likely than men to be fired for misconduct, Amit Seru, a Stanford School of Business professor who co-authored the study, told Motto.

When reached for comment by Motto, a Wells Fargo spokesperson said: Wells Fargo Advisors is examining this study’s assumptions and conclusions carefully. There are substantial questions about the data and analysis that underpin the study. As always, our focus is on providing a diverse and inclusive work environment, while we continue to serve the needs of our clients.”

Gregor Matvos, another author of the study, told CNBC that men at brokerage firms who misbehave are seen as “a good guy who deserves a second chance.” For women, he said, “you don’t get a second chance” and they “walk a tightrope.”

“We find evidence suggesting that the observed discrimination is driven by prejudice against women or what economists call ‘taste-based‘discrimination,” Seru said.“For example, we find that women experience more discrimination at firms with a greater percentage of male executives and a greater percentage of male managers.”



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