21st June 2021 – In 2016, the Diversity Project set out to achieve a comprehensive change across the investment and savings industry, bringing together fund management companies, pension fund consultants, asset owners, wealth managers and other firms across the investment industry, to improve diversity and inclusion across all dimensions, and at every career stage.
The starting point was challenging, but in five years, progress has been made. The case for a more modern, more diverse investment and savings industry has never been stronger or more accepted. Over 80 firms, 50 partner organisations and 400 people are committed to the Project, including 30 CEOs who form the Diversity Project’s Advisory Council.
And momentum is building. Networks, mentoring circles and grassroots initiatives are collectively driving awareness of the issues and support for societal equality.
Baroness Helena Morrissey, Chair of the Diversity Project comments:
“Diversity and inclusion in the investment and savings industry has come a long way and I’m hugely proud of all that the Diversity Project has achieved from the ground-breaking work of #TalkAboutBlack supporting after-school clubs for disadvantaged and ethnically-diverse students to the successful upReach programme, which has seen firms come together to increase social mobility through their early careers recruitment via the Investment Industry Springboard and the work of LGBT Great, which is well on its way to reaching the goal of 1000 LGBTQ+ role models and allies through-out the industry, among many other initiatives.
“With the scale of participation and level of commitment, I feel more optimistic than ever that we can and will continue to make progress”.
To mark this milestone, Steve Butler, CEO of Punter Southall Aspire, and active member of the Diversity Project’s Advisory Council has compiled a book of personal stories of many of the leaders involved in the Project.
‘The Diversity Project: Accelerating progress towards an inclusive culture in the investment and savings industry’ showcases efforts to date, brings the issues to life and sets out practical suggestions for business leaders, managers and employees, to help firms build more inclusive work cultures and harness the power of diverse thinking.
Steve Butler, CEO of Punter Southall Aspire, comments: “What the Diversity Project has achieved over five years is genuinely something quite remarkable. From growing a
grassroots movement to raise awareness of the issues facing Black, other minority ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse individuals to galvanising senior leadership to support and influence change, this is a great lesson in how cross-company collaboration can make change happen.
“Through this book we’re endeavouring to spread the word further and reach the army of line managers across the industry in order to maintain current momentum. Our ask is for all industry colleagues to use the book to share the personal stories of the leaders within the Diversity Project to support the change towards inclusive cultures in all our organisations”.
The Diversity Project: the next five years
The coronavirus crisis has shaken up both mindsets and working practices in the investment and savings industry, disrupting practices and behaviours that might otherwise have been hard to change. The Diversity Project will leverage this shift to create faster progress over the next five years.
Its original mission – to create a new generation of diverse talent and an inclusive culture across our member firms – remains firmly in place, though with a sharper focus on results and more targeted interventions to address industry-specific challenges.
The Diversity Project is announcing new targets around three dimensions of diversity: ethnic minorities, gender and socio-economic backgrounds, focused on increasing representation and participation at all levels of seniority. These are:
Socio economic targets
- All member firms to collect socio-economic data for their people, both entry-level and existing, and to track promotions.
- All member firms to support one or more graduate/school leaver recruitment programmes focused on socio-economic diversity.
- At least 80% of interns and graduates to have attended state school for the duration of their secondary education (ages 11-16).
- 20% female fund managers (up from 14% in large groups and 10% in small groups in 2019 source Citywire*). Targets adopted by individual member firms.
- Gender pay gaps reduced by one third from their 2019 figures.
- 50:50 male:female graduate and school leaver recruitment.
- Equal take up of stocks and shares ISAs by female and male customers.
1. The industry to achieve a 90% ethnicity disclosure rate within two years, to provide a basis for additional targets to be set. A new ‘90%’ campaign is launching soon.
Baroness Helena Morrissey, Chair of the Diversity Project commented:
“This past year, we’ve experienced the biggest shake up imaginable in all aspects of our lives. It’s not the way we wanted to catalyse a step-change, but we are seizing the moment to refocus our efforts to accelerate progress towards a more inclusive culture and greater diversity of talent.”
Dame Anne Richards, CEO of Fidelity International comments:
“The Diversity Project has played a key role in bringing the investment and savings industry together to make real progress on diversity and inclusion.
There is now broad agreement on the robust business case for diversity and inclusion because of the huge benefits they bring to our organisations in terms of innovation, better problem solving and more engaged employees who value the stronger sense of fairness.
We celebrate our progress, knowing that there is still more to do, and look forward to continuing to work together to create an industry where everyone feels they can succeed and thrive.”
Mitesh Sheth, CEO of Redington comments:
“Over the past 5 years I’ve seen the Diversity Project bring many enthusiastic volunteers and change makers together across the whole industry, to share best practice, conduct new research, create new initiatives and partnerships to improve the diversity and inclusion within each of our firms.
My colleagues at Redington and I have really enjoyed working with and learning from such a passionate and action-oriented group of people. We know that despite all our efforts so far, we are only at the beginning of a very long road. We need to continue to work together, embed change and hold each other accountable to really make our industry accessible and attractive for all.”
*The average representation of female fund managers at those DP member firms who supplied data as at end 2020 was 13%.