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Governance

J.P. Morgan becomes sixth financial company proxy-target to disclose gender pay

Arjuna Capital withdrew a shareholder proposal at J.P. Morgan Chase after the company agreed to disclose its efforts to address gender pay inequity, Arjuna announced in a news release Friday.

J.P. Morgan disclosed on it website that adjusting for "factors that potentially impact pay, including employees' roles, tenure, seniority, the business area they work in and geography," globally, women at J.P. Morgan Chase "are paid 99% of what men are paid" and in the U.S. "minority employees are paid more than 99% of what non-minority employees are paid." Both base salary and total compensation were analyzed. A spokesman confirmed the company made the disclosure Friday.

"The bare numbers, excluding these types of factors, will show a gap between the pay of men and women, but we have found that employees are paid appropriately when taking into consideration their business area, their experience and the work they do," J.P. Morgan explained.

The banking and financial services firm added: "Analyses, such as pay equity reviews, serve as a starting point for further review and we do not hesitate to take action where warranted. In the small percentage of cases where we identify individuals with compensation that is less than expected, we conduct further reviews and, where appropriate, proactively address them."

Arjuna filed proposals at nine banks and financial companies this proxy season calling for reports on the companies' policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap.

Along with J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon (BK), Bank of America, Mastercard and Wells Fargo have disclosed their efforts to address gender pay inequity. The proposals at those firms have also been withdrawn.

"With J.P. Morgan now on board, 100% of the five banks we've engaged have committed to gender pay equity," said Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital. "This is a 180-degree turn since 2017, when the same banks opposed our shareholder resolutions. Mastercard's recent disclosure only furthers the momentum, as two-thirds of the financial services firms we engaged have agreed to close their gender pay gaps. Gender pay was anathema to Wall Street when we started in 2017, but recent events have influenced big banks to manage the optics of equal pay for women and minorities. For one, the #MeToo movement is empowering women to demand workplace equality like never before."

An Arjuna Capital spokesman could not immediately be reached for additional information.