The figure compares to 50 per cent across Europe, according to research by accountancy group EY’s boardroom monitor.
And female board members of UK financial firms were more likely to have been a so-called c-suite member.
The current gender split of board members across UK financial services firms stands at 43 per cent female and 57 per cent male – just slightly ahead of Europe.
In the UK, gender diversity is highest across wealth and asset managers’ boards, where 45 per cent of directors are female and 55 per cent are male.
It is lowest among UK bank boards, where 41 per cent of directors are female and 59 per cent are male. At UK insurance firms, the gender split stands at 43 per cent female and 57 per cent male.
More female board members but for less time
At 34 months, the average board tenure for female directors at UK financial services firms is markedly shorter than the 54-month average tenure for female directors across Europe.
The average board tenure for male directors at UK financial services firms, at 50 months, is also markedly lower than the European male average of 66 months, suggesting a higher level of turnover across UK financial boards.
Sustainability credentials on boards
In the UK, 44 per cent of firms analysed by EY have board directors with professional sustainability experiences – compared with 32 per cent recorded across European firms.
However, there are big differences across the subsectors, with 66 per cent of bank boards including individuals with sustainability backgrounds, compared to 50 per cent of wealth and asset managers and 17 per cent of insurers.
Anna Anthony, EY UK financial services managing partner, said: “The drive for gender balance in the boardroom is playing out prominently across UK financial services.
“Ensuring that boardrooms reflect the diverse customers and societies they serve remains a work in progress, but the substantial increase in female representation in the past six months alone is particularly encouraging.
“Leaders across the financial sector are responding to the need for change, increasingly viewing diversity as a strategic priority. Given the role that diverse views, backgrounds and experience plays in identifying and responding to risks and in creating the challenge culture requisite to effective boards, we expect to see boards ramp up their focus on age and cultural diversity over the coming months.”