Why Won’t Female Financiers Break More Laws?

Frank Portnoy asks in today’s Financial Times why more female financiers aren’t out there causing trouble like their male counterparts:

“During the past decade, women have held 20 to 40 per cent of positions on Wall Street, but all the high-profile prosecutions for financial wrongdoing have involved male defendants. Paul Mozer of Salomon; Nick Leeson of Barings; Joseph Jett of Kidder, Peabody; Henry Blodget of Merrill Lynch; Frank Quattrone of various banks; John Rusnak of Allfirst Financial; and so on. Where are the women?”

That is an entertaining point, of course. Perhaps Portnoy’s complaint is correct, and banks that want to do good should hire more women. But he goes on to treat it all in bizarre-o sexist style, suggesting that investment banks persist in hiring men because law-breaking makes money:

“[Banks hire law-breaking men] because financial wrongdoing helps their business … even if sex discrimination were eliminated, the numbers of men and women would remain unbalanced. Simply put, the nature of Wall Street’s business favours men.”

Me-thinks the FT is going to get a lot of email over this column.