I am a veteran financial services regulator, having recently retired from a thirty year career with the Financial Conduct Authority, and am now in the privileged position of building a portfolio career comprising some financial services/regulation (I am a member of the Financial Reporting Council’s independent Tribunal), some DEI (watch this space!) and some arts/community work. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments.
When I look back on my life and career I can see that DEI has been a consistent thread, whether I realised it at the time or not, and whether intentional or not. I was born in Cyprus to working class parents and we came to London as a family when I was a toddler, which I guess makes me an immigrant. I went to a state comprehensive and my degree in Information Science came from a polytechnic.
I started my working life as a researcher in a major accountancy firm, at a time when there were no women partners. I then became an investment analyst for an institutional client stockbroker, where I was the only woman in the dealing room.
My regulatory career started in enforcement, and I was the first female investigator working on a team comprised entirely of male ex-police officers. I worked my way up to Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight and one of the highlights of my career was chairing two IOSCO (International Organisation of Securities Commissions) Committees because of what it taught me about working with cultures from around the world.
I then moved across to be the FCA’s COO for five years, where my responsibilities included HR and Corporate Responsibility. As COO I chaired the FCA’s Executive Diversity Committee, its Executive Operations Committee and the Public Sector Equality Duty Working Group.
After that I segued into part time working with two years as the FCA’s Senior Adviser for Regulatory Equality, providing support and challenge to the team producing the FCA’s new policy on DEI in regulated firms, initiating the UKRN’s (UK Regulators’ Network) DEI Pledges which all members have now signed, and being asked to join the HMT/City of London Social Mobility Task Force, which led to the setting up of the new membership body Progress Together.
Somehow in all this, I found time to Chair the Stratford Arts Trust, which delivered an inclusive and accessible arts programme to East London and beyond.
I think it is a combination of my lived experience, my professional experiences, and my love of the arts and culture which has led to my interest in DEI and I am now really excited to bring all of that to bear, continuing to push for improvement, including by being an Ambassador for The Diversity Project.