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Linda Ezergailis, a research analyst with TD Securities, in Toronto's financial district on Jan. 17, 2021.Galit Rodan/The Globe and Mail

When Bank of Montreal mining analyst Jackie Przybylowski attended the Denver Gold Forum online last November, she knew the annual conference was going to be different than usual. With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing her from entering the U.S. to attend in person, she would miss the usual catch-up with industry colleagues over hotel coffee breaks and cocktails.

Instead, she logged in to hear from some of the world’s largest silver and gold companies – and some of North America’s most well-known research analysts. She’d never thought much about the fact that mining was dominated by men, and when she went to conferences, she’d usually see at least some female faces in the crowd. But as she watched online, all she saw was rows of male faces.

For Ms. Przybylowski, a managing director of equity research for mining and metals, it was an eye-opening moment, demonstrating just how few women there are in her line of work.

The lack of gender diversity among equity research analysts is not just an issue in mining. It is an issue across Canada’s capital markets, where men far outnumber women covering every major sector. Many banks and brokerages say they have been trying to hire more women for senior positions in research, but progress has been slow.

To examine gender in the industry, The Globe and Mail reviewed the rosters of analysts who cover the companies that make up the S&P/TSX 60, an index of some of Canada’s most valuable stocks. These analysts publish research and recommend whether to buy, sell or hold stocks. They are some of the most visible professionals in the investment industry, often appearing at conferences and on television.

The Globe found that these analysts were overwhelmingly male, with women accounting for just 46 of 473 analysts, or 9.7 per cent. Of 32 investment companies The Globe examined, 12 had no female analysts covering S&P/TSX 60 companies.

female analysts by sector

Women are best represented in analyst coverage of large companies in the

consumer staples sector, such as grocers. Utilities and communications

services have the lowest representation.

Women

Men

Sector

No. of analysts

Pctg.

Consumer staples

 

32%

Real estate

 

17

Health care

 

15

Consumer discretionary

 

13

Industrials

 

10

Materials

 

8

Financials

 

8

Energy

 

6

Information technology

 

5

Communication services

 

5

Utilities

 

4

0

20

40

60

80

100

female analysts by firm

On average, women make up 9.7 per cent of the analysts who cover

Canada’s largest companies. Here is the data for the largest Canadian

investment companies.

Women

Men

Firm

No. of analysts

Pctg.

RBC

10.5%

BMO

17.6

CIBC

11.8

Scotiabank

13.3

Toronto-Dominion

13.3

Veritas Investment Research

11.1

Canaccord Genuity

0.0

National Bank Financial

0.0

Desjardins

0.0

0

20

40

60

80

100

david milstead and JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Globe

and Mail research using data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

female analysts by sector

Women are best represented in analyst coverage of large companies in the

consumer staples sector, such as grocers. Utilities and communications

services have the lowest representation.

Women

Men

Sector

No. of analysts

Pctg.

Consumer staples

 

32%

Real estate

 

17

Health care

 

15

Consumer discretionary

 

13

Industrials

 

10

Materials

 

8

Financials

 

8

Energy

 

6

Information technology

 

5

Communication services

 

5

Utilities

 

4

0

20

40

60

80

100

female analysts by firm

On average, women make up 9.7 per cent of the analysts who cover

Canada’s largest companies. Here is the data for the largest Canadian

investment companies.

Women

Men

Firm

No. of analysts

Pctg.

RBC

10.5%

BMO

17.6

CIBC

11.8

Scotiabank

13.3

Toronto-Dominion

13.3

Veritas Investment Research

11.1

Canaccord Genuity

0.0

National Bank Financial

0.0

Desjardins

0.0

0

20

40

60

80

100

david milstead and JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Globe

and Mail research using data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

female analysts by sector

Women are best represented in analyst coverage of large companies in the

consumer staples sector, such as grocers. Utilities and communications

services have the lowest representation.

Women

Men

Sector

No. of analysts

Pctg.

Consumer staples

 

32%

Real estate

 

17

Health care

 

15

Consumer discretionary

 

13

Industrials

 

10

Materials

 

8

Financials

 

8

Energy

 

6

Information technology

 

5

Communication services

 

5

Utilities

 

4

0

20

40

60

80

100

female analysts by firm

On average, women make up 9.7 per cent of the analysts who cover

Canada’s largest companies. Here is the data for the largest Canadian

investment companies.

Women

Men

Firm

No. of analysts

Pctg.

RBC

10.5%

BMO

17.6

CIBC

11.8

Scotiabank

13.3

Toronto-Dominion

13.3

Veritas Investment Research

11.1

Canaccord Genuity

0.0

National Bank Financial

0.0

Desjardins

0.0

0

20

40

60

80

100

david milstead and JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Globe

and Mail research using data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

Women are best represented in the the consumer-staples sector – such as grocers – making up 32 per cent of analysts. They make up no more than 17 per cent of analysts covering any other industry.

Energy, where just three of 51 analysts are women, and information technology, also three of 57, drag down the overall numbers. Utilities, where one of 27 analysts is a woman, and communication services, where there is one woman among 19 analysts covering phone and cable companies, have the lowest representation.

Only one of the 40 analysts covering Shopify Inc. , Canada’s most valuable public company, is a woman. Of the 22 analysts who cover at least one of Canada’s five major banks, only one, with an independent U.S. research company, is a woman.

Pauline Bell, an equity analyst with CFRA Research in Washington, has covered the banking sector over the past two years, and was unaware she was the only woman following Canadian banks.

“Here in the U.S., everyone cares more about the big U.S. players like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley , and those are gobbled up by my boss,” Ms. Bell said in an interview.

The Globe’s review was based on the S&P Global Market Intelligence database of analysts, as listed March 1. The analysts were from investment companies in Canada, the U.S. and other countries.

Other research is in line with The Globe’s numbers, and suggests Canada lags other countries. The CFA Institute – a global organization that confers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation – says that, worldwide, just 16 per cent of these public-facing analysts working at investment firms are female. In Canada, that number drops to 11 per cent, the institute says.


Why are so few women making their way up the ladder in the research divisions of Canada’s largest brokerages?

There isn’t one definitive answer, but several common themes arise. Female analysts interviewed by The Globe said capital markets is rarely discussed as a career option for women during high school, and in undergraduate programs, there’s a lack of upward mobility for many women early in their careers and more female mentors are needed.

Other women cited discouraging instances when clients dismissed them as just assistants, or times when they were overlooked to publicly present research reports they helped prepare.

Sarah Maynard, global head of external inclusion and diversity strategies for the CFA Institute, says the industry is well aware of a “leaky pipeline” as women work their way up in brokerages. Many women stagnate in junior associate roles and leave the industry after a few years – typically around age 26.

According to global industry research by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, Ms. Maynard says there are quite a few young women entering the sector and earning qualifications. But then, unexpectedly, they leave the brokerages that invested in their career training.

“At first, early analysis seemed to indicate [the departures] had to do with the age women were typically starting a family; however, the issue had more to do with women realizing they were not making the same kind of progress as their male colleagues,” Ms. Maynard says. “Frankly, women were getting demoralized, demotivated and taking their talents elsewhere.

It is important to have women in senior analyst roles because that helps improve coverage of Canada’s largest companies, says Aine O’Flynn, head of investment banking at BMO Capital Markets.

“It is truly diversity of thought,” Ms. O’Flynn says. “Having a more diverse talent pool makes conversations and decisions richer.”

Ms. Bell from CFRA Research – and co-chair of Women’s Investment Network, a subcommittee of the CFA Society of Washington – says brokerage firms need to remember women also increasingly invest and control wealth.

“The industry is at an inflection point – diversity can no longer be treated as just another obstacle or afterthought,” she says. “To be successful, a company has to reflect the true marketplace, and statistically, women outlive men, meaning very soon a very large portion of that wealth will be controlled by women.”

By 2026, women in Canada will control close to half of all accumulated financial wealth, up significantly from 2016, when the share was about one-third, according to a report by Strategic Insight.

Ann Bowers, an associate professor at the Rotman School of Management, says female analysts tend to cover fewer stocks than their male counterparts, but evidence suggests they are often bolder in their predictions.

“They often issue more novel forecasts, which institutional investors take notice of,” she says. “[Investors] are looking for novel insights and ideas that are going to give them an edge – and sometimes that insight comes from people who are not the status quo.”


To achieve a more diverse slate of candidates, organizations need to extend their reach when hiring.

“We need to redefine what an analyst is and start to be more creative where we are looking for talent,” Prof. Bowers says. “Taking someone from industry or hiring someone from academia – we have to broaden our search. If you have a good athlete, they can adapt.”

Mona Nazir, a research director with Laurentian Bank Securities , is one of the few female analysts covering Canada’s largest companies and the only woman on her research team of 10 people. Since joining the bank in 2013, she has mentored several women looking to break into Canada’s capital markets.

“Employers are increasingly aware of the lack of women representation, however the other side of the equation is the percentage of women in the candidate pool,” says Ms. Nazir, who covers infrastructure and transportation.

Analysts often work 11 to 18 hours a day, especially during earnings season or if significant news occurs in their sector.

After completing her MBA, in 2007 Ms. Nazir met with more than 100 research directors and senior analysts in the industry. During one informational interview, she was told sales and trading may be a better fit for her, given the fewer hours required.

“At times, people were warning me that if I wanted to get married, or have a family, that banking and research may not be the best option,” says Ms. Nazir, who is now married and has a two-year old daughter.

Female analysts interviewed by The Globe say there is still a stigma around men in capital markets taking paternity leave, leaving women at a disadvantage if they take longer leaves than their male counterparts.

“Mandatory paternity leave, similar to Sweden, would help reduce the stigma for men to take time off, increase empathy and allow women to get back to work faster, should they choose to,” Ms. Nazir says.

Lara Zink, president and CEO of Women in Capital Markets, says, historically, women “shoulder the brunt of the domestic care-giving responsibilities,” making it difficult for women to work “demanding” hours.

“We must achieve an equitable distribution of domestic and caregiving responsibilities and men need to step up to assume 50 per cent of this realm,” Ms. Zink said in an e-mail.

In Canada, firms with all-male analyst teams include Canaccord Genuity and National Bank Financial (zero women of 13 analysts, for both); Raymond James Ltd. and its related company in the U.S. (zero of 12); and Desjardins Securities Inc. (zero of eight). (For this statistic, firms with fewer than five analysts covering S&P/TSX 60 companies were excluded.)

Chantel Corbeil, a spokesperson for Desjardins Capital Markets, says the bank is “well aware” the female-to-male ratio for equity research analysts isn’t what it should be.

“We have found it very hard over time to replace our professionals with women during our natural business turnover but we continue with our efforts,” Ms. Corbeil said in an e-mail to The Globe. “We have had success in hiring women into the research associate roles, hoping to promote them over time.”

Raymond James spokesperson Peter Kahnert says the “need to develop more talented women to analyst roles is always a priority for the firm” and while they have had some success over the years in promoting women, they have lost women to other opportunities.

National Bank acknowledged it has no female analysts covering large Canadian companies, but said it does have women elsewhere on its research staff, such as covering exchange-traded funds.

A Canaccord spokeswoman says the large companies in the S&P/TSX 60 represent less than 5 per cent of the stocks it covers, and women account for 11 per cent of analysts covering non-TSX 60 companies.


Ms. Przybylowski, who has worked in capital markets for 13 years, says many of her employers – including BMO, the current one – have been actively recruiting women into their research divisions. But if opportunities to move upward don’t become available, not many people – male or female – want to remain in junior positions where they are not in control of their own research or schedule.

Typically, junior analysts assist in gathering financial documentation and spreadsheets used to support a senior analyst’s stock recommendation or research publication, and must work a similar schedule. As a result, Ms. Przybylowski says, many juniors shift to other roles in the organization, such as corporate banking.

Tina Normann, a research analyst with Eight Capital in Toronto, has been in the industry for 20 years and says she was lucky to start as a junior intern for a small buy-side company right out of university.

She had planned to become a history professor, but Ms. Normann says her summer job opened her eyes to a career she never considered. Within weeks she met a mentor who encouraged her to take several financial courses, which helped propel her over to the sell side of the business.

“Whether you are male or female, this is a competitive business that requires you to work extremely hard, and requires you to have that work ethic full of energy, which I love,” she says. “But it’s a career that requires you to have a very strong family support network.”

Ms. Normann says women are beginning to see the responsibilities of child care and housework more evenly shared at home, and the “old boys’ club” in the industry is starting to break down.

“While it’s not entirely squashed, industry programs such as Women in Capital Markets, and individual corporations that have made a greater push to promote their own diversity and inclusion plans, are helping women get propelled up the corporate ladder,” she adds.

Women in Capital Markets provides several programs and initiatives, such as mentorship, targeted leadership development programs and initiatives to accelerate women’s careers.

The organization has also been working with firms to focus more on women of colour. There are no available statistics on racial diversity in the analyst sector, but Ms. Zink says racialized women are a small subset of the community.

“Until we revise our systems, policies, management styles and workplaces to be truly inclusive and equitable, diversity will remain out of reach,” she says.

In North America, the CFA Institute has run an experimental partner program over the past two years involving 42 financial institutions, asset managers and asset owners – including several of Canada’s largest financial services organizations. Through quarterly conference calls, the institute has asked C-suite executives, HR managers and senior leaders what has worked – and what hasn’t – to improve diversity.

“It includes everything from how they look at their talent acquisition, interns, promotions and all the way up to their board levels,” Ms. Maynard says.

Other industry-wide initiatives such as Girls Who Invest and back-to-work programs for women who have taken a career break, such as Return to Bay Street, are helping firms develop in-house mentoring programs. Toronto-Dominion Bank launched its Women in Leadership mentorship program in 2005, which pairs up-and-coming female talent with male or female leaders across the bank.

Currently, 13 per cent of the bank’s analysts covering S&P/TSX 60 companies are women.

Two managing directors of equity research at TD Securities , Linda Ezergailis and Cherilyn Radbourne, say mentors are instrumental when trying to navigate in capital markets.

Cherilyn Radbourne, a research analyst with TD Securities, in Toronto's financial district on Jan. 17, 2021.The Globe and Mail

After graduating university with an engineering degree, Ms. Ezergailis landed a job at Imperial Oil. After moving into consulting and earning her MBA, she got a job in capital markets – covering the energy sector. She has hosted several mentor lunches for women in junior roles, allowing them to pick her brain.

“Networking was something I probably didn’t do enough of early on in my career,” she recalls. “Now, there are times I will be chatting with someone informally and I don’t even realize that I am providing them with the advice they need.”

While she was initially unaware of equity research, Ms. Radbourne says her father’s work as a real estate portfolio manager helped propel her into finance earlier than most. In an era before “take your kids to work” day, trips to her dad’s office planted the seed. By Grade 10 she was already focused on accounting and applying for business school programs to Ivy League schools.

“It’s important to reach women at a young age and really have them see what is exciting about a career in capital markets, and help them see it is very achievable,” Ms. Radbourne says.

“Unfortunately, there is a still a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation in the industry. It’s hard to aspire to something you can’t see because you need to have senior female role models that people want to emulate.”

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