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Asset management industry launches five-year initiative to increase diversity

The UK investment and savings industry has today pledged its commitment to attracting, developing and retaining new and diverse talent with the launch of its Diversity Project.

The Project, which is supported by many of the largest investment and savings institutions in the UK, marks a significant step to accelerate progress in encouraging a more inclusive culture in the investment profession over the next five years. Bringing together individual firms, and building upon the successes of existing initiatives, such as Investment2020, it will address the need for greater diversity across a range of dimensions; gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, LGBTI+, age and disability.

Development of the Project’s strategy will be led by a CEO and Chair Advisory Council, and implemented through a Steering Committee responsible for co-ordinating and delivering activities.

As well as encouraging participation at a leadership level, the Project is calling for individual ambassadors from across a range of industry disciplines and levels – senior management through to graduates themselves - who would like to get involved by offering their time and expertise in activities such as volunteering and mentoring.

Details of the Project and information about how to get involved will be announced later today at an event held in London, including a keynote speech from Andy Haldane, Chief Economist and the Executive Director of Monetary Analysis and Statistics at the Bank of England. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and the government’s Women in Finance Champion will also be speaking at the event.

Investment Association Chair, Helena Morrissey, comments

“The UK’s asset management industry supports the interests of millions of savers and plays a vital role in the performance of companies and the wider economy. Our ability to perform well depends upon the talent we are able to attract and develop.

Gathering together individuals from different backgrounds with a range of experiences will help us navigate both challenges and opportunities on behalf of our clients, by drawing upon a blend of analytical, innovative and empathetic skills.

Many individuals and organisations involved with the Diversity Project have already made a significant contribution towards improving diversity within the industry. We are united to improve diversity across the board, by broadening our talent pool in terms of socio-economic background, degree discipline, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and of course, gender.

By joining together, we will amplify these efforts and transform recruitment and talent development.

Many people are unaware of what the industry actually does, and the wide variety of roles and opportunities it has to offer.

It is vital that we bridge that gap in understanding to enable us to attract a broader range of talent, and I am confident that within the next five years we will see a real difference that will benefit everyone."

Andy Haldane - Chief Economist and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis & Statistics, Bank of England, welcomes the Diversity Project:

“As one of the countries’ leading sectors, the financial services industry has a fantastic opportunity to lead the way to a new frontier on encouraging diversity, across all its dimensions, in the modern workplace.

The Diversity Project is an important staging post towards achieving that objective.”

Those wishing to participate can do so at five levels and should contact [email protected] to find out further information:

  • Individual business level – providing volunteers, expertise, and funding for activities
  • CEO and Chair Advisory Council level – as individual leaders who are committed to developing the Project’s strategy and achieving its goals, as well as influencing change within their own organisations
  • Steering Committee – those able to lead and contribute in the development of specific projects and activity on behalf of their firm
  • Project implementation – individuals across a range of roles and experience within the industry who would like to participate in delivering specific projects
  • Ambassadors – individuals from within the industry who would like to offer time and expertise to supporting the Project, through activities such as speaking at schools, universities or business schools, host networking events, or act as mentors
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