Our first Women in Finance ranking in 2018 spotlighted influential women across various sectors, including government, business, finance and accountancy, who are all leaders, trailblazers and transforming their respective fields.
This year, we had so much interest we decided to extend the list from 20 to 35 women.
Last month, we put forward a longlist of female leaders to an audience vote. This week and next, we’ll be announcing the results of the vote – listing five women each day ahead of the full ranking release of the Top 35 Women in Finance on 30 April.
Today we present the next five women who have been named in positions 16-20 – based entirely on your votes.
16. Melanie Hall QC, Legal 500’s Silk of the Year
When Annie Lennox wrote ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves’, she may have had barrister Melanie Hall in mind. The pair co-founded charity The Circle in 2008. Hall is also on the editorial board for the Tax Journal and is a trustee of Somerset House.
Hall has been an acknowledged leader in the field of VAT for many years. She is part of Monckton Chambers, itself renowned for its indirect tax work. Hall is famous for the depth of her research. Her cases have made legal history, working for both HMRC and private clients.
She has defended the legality of the existence of VAT on hot takeaway food, the Aggregates Levy, the UK’s VAT Grouping legislation and the Landfill Tax.
17. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair, Treasury Select Committee
An Oxford-educated corporate lawyer by training, Morgan first became an MP (for Loughborough) in 2010, after a few years of trying. She became chair of the Treasury Select Committee in July 2017.
She has been secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities (2014 – 16); financial secretary to the Treasury (2014); minister for women (2014); economic secretary to the Treasury (2013 – 14); an assistant government whip (2012 – 13); and the parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to David Willetts MP, cabinet minister for universities and science (2010 – 12).
Website TheyWorkForYou suggests Morgan does not always toe the party line, rebelling against Conservative orthodoxy 35 times.
18. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General, CBI
Fairbairn joined the CBI as director-general in November 2015 after a career that focused on finance. She was a director of the Competition and Markets Authority and from 2008-11, the Financial Services Authority.
She spent her early career with the World Bank and then as a journalist with The Economist magazine. In 1995 she joined McKinsey and became a partner in its media practice. As BBC Director of Strategy, she led the BBC’s digital drive and in 2003 designed and launched Freeview. From 2007-2010, she was a member of the executive board at ITV.
Fairbairn has been non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, the Vitec Group, and Capita plc.
19. Judith Freedman, Professor of Tax, Worcester College, Oxford
Freedman’s special interests include the interaction between law and accounting, tax avoidance, tax and corporate social responsibility, and the use of discretion in the administration of taxation.
She helped set up the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation. She is the general editor of the British Tax Review and on the editorial boards of many tax publications worldwide.
She is on the Tax Law Review Committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and contributed to the Mirrlees report Reforming the Tax System for the 21st Century.
Freedman was appointed a CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List and an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in January 2015.
She worked in the corporate tax department of Freshfields before becoming an academic.
20. Helen Brand, Chief Executive, ACCA
Helen Brand OBE has held the post of chief executive since 2008 but has been at ACCA since 1996. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2011 in recognition of her services to accountancy.
Brand built her career within professional bodies. She’s worked closely with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in an advisory capacity and is a founding member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
One of the few women to lead a global professional body, Helen is a London Honorary Advisory Board member of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).