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UK investment and savings industry commits to diversity and inclusion

London, Monday 18th September 2017, Almost a year since launching, the Diversity Project has today provided an update on its progress to develop a more inclusive and diverse culture within the investment and savings profession over the next 4 years.

Over the last 12 months, the Diversity Project, led by a CEO/Chair Advisory Council with a Steering Committee from a selection of UK investment and savings institutions, has embarked on a wide range of initiatives and educational programmes.

This includes this week’s launch of a Returners Database, a portal for individuals who have taken an extended career break and are keen to return to the investment sector.

Other important initiatives underway include, focused work streams aimed at attracting more diverse talent, including a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds and improved ethnic representation.

The Project is also working on cultural aspects to encourage diverse talent to stay and develop their careers within the industry, with the aim of achieving more diversity among fund managers of flagship funds.

Measuring progress is crucial to gauging the Diversity Project’s success.

The Project commissioned Mercer to undertake a Benchmarking study (Q2 2017) to survey over 3,755 participants from 24 firms including 650 investment managers, to understand the experience, backgrounds, qualifications and motivations of those working in the sector and importantly, what actions are needed to improve diversity.

The key insights and actions from the research highlight areas such as supporting individuals returning to the industry after a leave of absence, introducing broader recruitment practices and exploring greater flexibility across the workplace.

The research looks for new ways to help personal development and enhance the reputation of the sector to encourage more people from a wider variety of backgrounds to apply for roles.

The Diversity Project Advisory Council has also developed a ten-point commitment to diversity and inclusion’ to further strengthen the industry’s intention to deliver change.

The Commitment sets out ways to support the industry to launch schemes aimed at ensuring diverse recruitment, helping a wider range of talent to rise to top roles within firms, as well as the sharing of best practice and the development of new collaborative initiatives.

Founder of the Diversity Project, Helena Morrissey comments:

“It is exciting to see how the Diversity Project has gained such momentum in less than a year. There is now a real sense of urgency, with the recognition that improving diversity is a key aspect of creating a modern industry, able to deliver strong performance and connect better with customers and society.

There is no discussion now about whether we should do this, it is all about what we’re doing to get results. Collaborative programmes like the Returners Database and new broader recruitment efforts are targeted at critical areas and now we have a benchmark survey, we’ll be able to track progress. I feel confident we’ll see it.

The perception of the industry being run by the old boys’ network is very damaging as it makes investment management less of a desired career path. said Georgina Harley, Partner at Mercer. “An immediate fix for the industry is to improve this image issue, and work has already begun.

To attract a more diverse group of applicant’s organisations should adopt more contemporary practices around recruitment and promotion, as well as promote positive examples of diversity and tackle the issue of part time work for portfolio management roles.”

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