Westminster Business Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Improving diversity in UK financial and professional services - policy developments, next steps, best practice, and priorities for employers

Morning, Thursday, 15th July 2021


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the next steps for improving diversity in financial and professional services in the UK.


Delegates will discuss key priorities for the independent taskforce commissioned by HMT and BEIS to boost socio-economic diversity in UK financial and professional services - as the taskforce begins its work.


We are pleased to be able to include in this conference keynote contributions from: Catherine McGuinness, Chair, Socio-economic Diversity in UK Financial and Professional Services Sectors Independent Taskforce and Policy Chair, City of London Corporation; Clare Cole, Director of Market Oversight, Financial Conduct Authority; Paula Kemp, Employer Engagement Lead - Employers Programme, Social Mobility Commission; and Nik Miller, Chief Executive, Bridge Group.


There will also be best practice case studies on:

  • supporting women working in technology - with Anna Somaiya, Lead, IT’s Her Future Programme, KPMG
  • working with A Level students to improve access to careers in law - with  Gideon Moore, Partner, Global Head of Banking, Linklaters
  • social and structural approaches to improving disability inclusion - with Esi Hardy, Managing Director and Disability Inclusion Expert, Celebrating Disability
  • improving inclusivity in relation to gender identity and sexuality - with Jonny Briggs, Head of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion, Aviva
  • engaging young people studying geography and business studies on the relevance of careers in real estate - with Sarah Musgrove, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • priorities for the Socio-economic Diversity Taskforce as it begins its work
  • the current landscape in financial and professional services
  • addressing key issues and developing best practice for advancing diversity and inclusion within the sector
  • the social and business cases for encouraging socio-economic diversity, and opportunities within the Government’s policy agenda

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are already due to attend from HM Treasury; MoJ; NAO; the Social Mobility Commission; and the Welsh Government.


The agenda:

  • Socio-economic diversity in financial and professional services - the current state of play
  • Case studies - best practice in advancing diversity and inclusion within the sector
    • Improving the representation of women in financial services, and changing cultures
    • Achieving racial equality - progress and next steps
    • Priorities for disability inclusion - social and structural approaches
    • Gender identity and sexuality - key priorities for improving inclusivity
    • Improving school outreach
  • The FCA’s priorities for diversity and inclusion in financial services
  • The social and business cases for encouraging socio-economic and wider diversity - improving recruitment and progression routes, diversity reporting, and obligations and incentives for employers
  • Key priorities as the Socio-economic diversity taskforce begins its work

Key areas for discussion:

Key issues, latest thinking and best practice for advancing diversity and inclusion within the sector - looking at areas including gender, racial equality, disability inclusion, sexuality and gender identity:

  • careers:
    • support - what is needed to help underrepresented groups into careers in financial services, starting with fairer recruitment practices, and moving forward through the career cycle
    • outreach - engaging and inspiring students and young people, expanding alternative routes into the sector other than university education, such as apprenticeships and professional coaching, and programmes targeting school leavers from underrepresented demographics
  • organisation focus and priorities:
    • progress and next steps - what is needed for moving diversity and inclusion higher up the agenda for senior management, regulators, professional bodies, and groups within the workforce
    • emerging areas of underrepresentation - measures needed to move forward in these areas and those that have had less focus, which include gender identity and sexuality, disability, cognitive diversity, accounting for pressures outside the workplace, and intersectional issues
    • making the business case - with Bridge Group research finding that talented people from lower socio-economic backgrounds waste energy assimilating dominant cultures, with a knock-on effect on:
      • individual and organisational productivity
      • wellbeing and mental health
      • personal development and career progression
  • culture:
    • best practice - what are the most effective steps being taken to institute and encourage the necessary changes in financial services organisations
    • areas for improvement - what more could be done to foster workplace cultures and environments that are welcoming and accessible
    • workplace culture - latest thinking on effective engagement, and information and education initiatives for employees on inclusive requirements and best practices, and the reasons behind them
  • COVID-19 - what special initiatives may be necessary to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on progress made in achieving social, political and economic equality for women and other groups in the sector
  • measurement and reporting - looking at options for enforcement, incentives, and addressing barriers with, for example, some companies apparently not having the data to report ethnic diversity, including 19 in the FTSE 100
  • the wider policy agenda - options for support and wider opportunities for a diverse financial and professional services sector through government policy initiatives around boosting productivity, and the ‘levelling up’ drive to reduce regional inequalities across the UK
  • case studies and research:
    • Anna Somaiya, Lead, IT’s Her Future Programme, KPMG - winner of the Champion for Women Award 2019, speaking on the scheme she has founded at her firm, which aims to support women working in technology
    • Gideon Moore, Partner, Global Head of Banking, Linklaters - on the work that the firm are doing in this area, having been named as a Leader in Diversity by the Financial Times last year, and with Linklaters recently launching a new programme for A Level students designed to improve access to a career in law
    • Esi Hardy, Managing Director and Disability Inclusion Expert, Celebrating Disability - on strategies for improving inclusivity for people who have disabilities, and her consultation work with businesses
    • Jonny Briggs, Head of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion, Aviva - outlining the work that he has undertaken in improving inclusivity in relation to gender identity and sexuality
    • Sarah Musgrove, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute - on its workshops for 15-18 year olds studying geography and business studies which aim to make real estate as relevant as possible to young people

The Socio-economic Diversity Taskforce - priorities as it begins its work:

  • taking forward best practice - evaluating what is already being done, and how it can be incorporated into the agenda of the new taskforce, as well as building on latest thinking, such as the benefits of cognitive diversity for the workplace
  • priorities for the three work streams:
    • industry consultation - assessing best practice for working with industry bodies to develop incentives for improving socio-economic diversity, and what additional infrastructure and support is needed with some companies not having the necessary data to report on it
    • developing a membership body - looking to membership bodies for other sectors, such as Akin Accountancy and Prime, which exist for accountancy and law respectively, to develop effective financial services networks focused on progression
    • productivity analysis - building the business case for increasing diversity at senior levels in financial and professional services, and priorities for impact

A scan of relevant developments:

  • the new Socio-economic Diversity Taskforce - HMT and BEIS have commissioned the City of London Corporation to lead the independent taskforce to boost socio-economic diversity at senior levels across UK financial and professional services (FPS), with three outputs:
    • industry consultation - the first work stream, partnered with Deloitte, looking at how Government, regulators, and sector bodies can incentivise employer action on socio-economic diversity
    • financial services networks - the second work stream, partnered with MyKindaFuture, developing membership body and peer networks for the sector to increase employer engagement and accountability in delivering socio-economic diversity at senior levels, which exist in other sectors
    • productivity analysis - the third work stream, partnered with PwC, building the business case for increasing socio-economic diversity at senior levels in financial and professional services
  • Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities: The Report - the publication of the Commission’s report, which found that there has been an increase in the number of ethnic minorities working in professional roles, however some groups are doing better than others and there remains underrepresentation at the highest levels
  • Financial and professional services toolkit - the first sector-specific toolkit to be launched by the Social Mobility Commission aiming to provide employers with the resources both to educate themselves on the need to take action to improve socio-economic diversity and inclusion in their organisations, as well as to work to achieve it
  • Who gets ahead and how? - a recent report from The Bridge Group, and commissioned by the City of London Corporation, which draws from eight major employers in the financial services sector, and finding that:
    • almost nine in ten senior roles in financial services are held by people from higher socio-economic backgrounds, compared to a third of the UK working population as a whole
    • that employees from less privileged backgrounds take 25% longer to progress, despite no evidence of poorer performance
  • The impact of COVID-19 on Women - a report from the UN highlighting the negative impact of the pandemic on the move towards gender equality, finding that the gains made towards social, political and economic equality for women in the past decades are at real risk of being rolled back as a result of COVID-19

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from HM Treasury; the Ministry of Justice; the National Audit Office; the Social Mobility Commission; and the Welsh Government.


Overall, we expect speakers and other participants to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from representatives of employers and trade unions, community and campaign groups, lawyers, equality and diversity professionals, social mobility charities, trade and professional associations, academics, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speakers

Nik Miller

Chief Executive, Bridge Group

Clare Cole

Director of Market Oversight, Financial Conduct Authority

Catherine McGuinness

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, City of London Corporation and Chair, Socio-economic Diversity in UK Financial and Professional Services Sectors Independent Taskforce

Speakers

Gideon Moore

Partner, Global Head of Banking, Linklaters

Sarah Musgrove

Executive Director, Urban Land Institute

Dr Louise Ashley

Lecturer in Management Studies, Royal Holloway University of London

Claire Wills

London Managing Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Didi Ogede El-Mawas

Trustee, The Diversity Project Charity

Esi Hardy

Managing Director and Disability Inclusion Expert, Celebrating Disability

Anna Somaiya

Lead, IT’s Her Future Programme, KPMG

Jonny Briggs

Head of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion, Aviva

Paula Kemp

Employer Engagement Lead - Employers Programme, Social Mobility Commission

Shazia Ejaz

Director of Campaigns, The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)