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Arfan Akhtar

I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, coming from an ethnic background. After studying at King’s College London, I have built a career in executive search, spanning across markets such as insurance, pensions and the fund management industry.

Currently I work as a VP at Options Group, an executive search firm. It is a privilege to be in the position I am in, being able to influence clients to review their hiring policies to promote diversity and inclusion and take proactive steps to improve interview processes to remove unconscious biases. Also, I am able to leverage some of the breakthroughs in the banking industry with clients.

Having worked in search for over 10 years, it has been incredible to witness how much the investment industry has changed and positively evolved, however there is a long way to go. I truly believe that to improve D&I within the industry, it requires a mindset change rather than a tick-box exercise.

I would encourage individuals to approach senior leadership to influence change, I would encourage businesses to think of grassroots initiatives to encourage those who have been historically disadvantaged to apply to the industry, and I would encourage senior professionals from diverse backgrounds to mentor and guide those who need it.

In my spare time, I thoroughly enjoy my sports and playing/coaching hockey competitively. I also volunteer at the local community centre with fundraising and organising events.

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