The Diversity Project is a cross-company initiative championing a truly diverse and inclusive UK investment and savings industry with the right talent to deliver the best possible financial outcomes for our clients, to reflect the society we serve and ultimately build more sustainable businesses.
Our members are asset owners, investment managers, fund selectors, investment consultants, actuaries, trustees, family offices and wealth managers. Our partners and supporters include data providers, recruiters, professional standards authorities, trade bodies, and other organisations within the financial services sector.
We believe that we have an extraordinary opportunity to press the re-set button in our industry: to recruit, nurture and retain the first truly diverse generation of Investment and Savings professionals. That generation will themselves perpetuate diversity in our industry; we are looking to break one cycle and create another.
If we are successful:
- Our businesses will better reflect both society at large, and the individuals who trust us with their money.
- Our people will create better financial outcomes to benefit our diverse savers and investors.
- We will attract more interest in the industry, with a pipeline of diverse talent.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is not only a social obligation, it’s a business imperative in our Industry.
The Diversity Project approach is holistic, collaborative and open source. We do not prescribe – we listen. The Project is complementary to individual firms’ initiatives – we truly believe that joined-up efforts can yield greater results.
Each year, our workstreams establish individual aims and goals specific to their sector of diversity and inclusion, in order to fully play their part in the overall success of the Diversity Project. You can access previous years’ objectives and information here: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Our five-year goals (2021 – 2026)
- To achieve 20% female fund managers named as the manager of a specific portfolio
- Gender pay gaps reduced by one third from 2019 levels
- Equality in graduate and school leaver recruitment
- 90% ethnicity disclosure rate
- Ethnicity goals to be set after review of disclosure rates by gender
- Collection of socio-economic data
- Support of one or more graduate/school leaver recruitment programmes focused on socioeconomic diversity
- Adoption of specific and appropriate socioeconomic targets
"At BlackRock, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at every level of our firm and within every country we operate in, is core to our culture and the difference we can make in the world. We are proud to partner with the Diversity Project to build a better and more inclusive asset management industry."
BlackRock – Sarah Melvin, Head of UK
"Working with the Diversity Project connects us with others in the industry that are equally passionate about building a truly inclusive workplace. Sharing evolving best practice helps us understand our challenges more quickly and develop more effective strategies to address them."
Helen Prior, Client Director, Cardano
"As a long term member of the Diversity Project we have benefited from its educational resources and tools. In particular, we used the Diversity Project’s 10 Commitments Framework to assess our own performance and culture and to support our discussion and focus on our DEI action planning."
Columbia Thread Needle – Nicholas Ring
Our Working Structure
How we work
The Diversity Project is a CIC (Community Interest Company) with it’s own Board that oversee it’s running, safeguarding, finances and ensuring that it is operating in line with its mission. The Project is overseen by a CEO Advisory Council, which provides strategic input and business leadership.
A Steering Committee leads the implementation of the strategy, through specific work streams.
A further group of individuals, ambassadors, members, supporters and partners from all levels of the industry, help deepen the work through individual engagement.
Chair/CEO Advisory Council
Dimensions of D, E & I
An Advisory Council (AC), made up of CEOs or C-suite equivalent and meets every 2-3 months. Its function is to provide input on the priorities for the Diversity Project and to offer support and guidance to the workstreams. As key decision-makers in their firms, they can take recommendations back into their organisations and effect change.
The Steering Committee
The Steering Committee (SC) is made up of representatives of all member firms. Meeting every two months, its job is to provide input, support and leadership for the workstreams. Its members are encouraged to share case studies of initiatives successfully carried out in their own organisations, as well as taking new ideas and recommendations back to implement in their firms.
Dimensions of D, E & I
Workstreams comprise employees of member firms who are passionate about a specific aspect of diversity or inclusion. These groups are largely self-organising. They determine their goals and objectives each year, deciding which initiatives to pursue and what events to run in order to raise awareness or create networking opportunities. The current workstream structure is shown here. They are also responsible for populating their relevant Dimensions of DEI pages with best practice and guidance documents, case studies, role models and links to useful information and organisations. These groups typically convene once a month to discuss progress. Group leads meet every two months to share progress and ensure that any overlaps or omissions are addressed.
D&I Regulatory Papers
Having consulted our Members, we responded in conjunction with LBGT Great to the 2021 FCA, PRA and Bank of England Joint Discussion Paper on D&I in the Financial Industry
Diversity Project Chapters
The Diversity Project started in 2016 in the UK, but is building momentum in other areas of the Industry (wealth and asset management) and regions (North America, Scotland, with Europe launching shortly). If you are interested in your region, please get in touch: [email protected]
Diversity Project Book
The Diversity Project: Accelerating progress towards an inclusive culture in the investment and savings industry. Written by Steve Butler, the CEO of Punter Southall Aspire and an active Diversity Project Advisory Council member.
Please watch the highlights of what we have achieved in our Timeline video, charting and celebrating five years of diversity and inclusion.
Get in touch and become a Diversity Project Member today!
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