Westminster Business Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +044 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244

Next steps for developing the financial services workforce - the talent pipeline, education and skills, and improving culture and diversity


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

This conference focuses on the financial services workforce.

Sector stakeholders and key government officials will discuss skills development and securing the talent pipeline, examining challenges and next steps.

Areas for discussion include:

  • policy developments impacting on the financial services workforce - including the Employment Bill, and changes to immigration policy and visa rules,
  • the talent pipeline - both domestic and international, as the UK negotiates international trading arrangements in the wake of Brexit,
  • skills development and education - as the sector adapts to digitisation and new technologies, and competes for talent, and
  • culture and diversity in the financial workplace - at a time of heightened scrutiny by policymakers and more widely.

We also expect discussion on the impact of COVID-19 - with a focus on recruitment, and on possible future alternatives to traditional working practices in the financial sector arising from the significant shift towards remote working. As the pandemic has rapidly accelerated digitisation in the sector recent developments have placed additional importance on the need to reskill and upskill workers in order to address the digital skills gap.

The discussion in detail:

  • The talent pipeline - with discussion on what financial services need from:
    • UK negotiations on international trading arrangements with the EU and globally,
    • immigration policy, with reports of movement in the government position on a points-based system,
    • the education sector, including careers advice and guidance, in the face of increased competition from other industries for the brightest new entrants to the employment market, and
    • strategies for the sector itself in tackling barriers to hiring new talent - arising from public perceptions of the financial services work culture.
  • Skills to support the industry through digital transformation - both for new entrants to the sector and to upskill the existing workforce, looking at:
    • expectations for the incoming financial T Level in addressing the skills gap in areas such as AI, coding and regtech - and areas for collaboration between the financial and education sectors, and
    • how the sector can improve its own training, including putting in place the required resources to drive digital change priorities, and the strategies and support that will be needed.
  • The work of the Financial Services Skills Taskforce, with a keynote contribution from its chair, Mark Hoban, looking at its proposals including:
    • providing a collective voice for the sector with the introduction of a new Skills Commission, and
    • creating a unified skills framework for reskilling, and to attract and retain new talent.
  • The expected Employment Bill - discussing sector priorities as the Government takes forward its pledges aimed at creating greater fairness in the workplace - including proposed measures to:
    • encourage flexible working,
    • extend leave for neonatal care, and
    • remove barriers for fathers taking paternity leave.
  • Cultural issues within financial services, with discussion on:
    • latest initiatives and best practice in tackling longstanding challenges - as complaints to the FCA reporting inappropriate conduct at financial companies has risen to the highest levels since 2015, leading to some criticism of a perceived ‘culture of fear’ in the sector,
    • reform taking place in regulation in areas such as diversity, mental health and wellbeing, and disabilities in the workplace,
    • the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) and the prospects for its intended aim of catalysing change and establishing healthy work cultures, and
    • the shift towards remote working and other flexible arrangements resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, and how it might herald future alternatives to traditional working in the sector.
  • Diversity, looking at strategies and practical steps for addressing challenges at all organisational levels:
    • across the workforce - best practice being adopted to provide for employees with disabilities, shared parental leave and return to work programmes, and flexible and remote working,
    • leadership in financial services - with the FCA indicating that greater diversity would play a part in its evaluation of culture at financial firms and discussion expected on:
      • the effectiveness of the Women in Finance Charter - as well as options for similar initiatives in other areas where diversity could be improved,
      • recent research highlighting how three in four women are discounting careers in finance due to a lack of confidence in working with numbers,
      • the way forward for improving ethnic minority representation on financial services  boards with the 2020 Parker Review showing lack of diversity across leading FTSE companies.
    • how business practices and strategy are changing to capitalise on the competitive advantage of diversity in leadership and the workforce.

The agenda:

  • Ensuring UK financial services has the skills to maintain its position as a world leading financial centre;
  • Implementing the financial services T Level, and supporting business and the education system to produce the workforce of the future;
  • Closing the skills gap - upskilling the existing workforce, adapting to new technologies and securing the pipeline of talent post-Brexit;
  • Building healthy cultures in financial services - an industry perspective;
  • Culture in financial services - improving diversity, workplace health and the image of the sector; and
  • The future for the Women in Finance Charter - and strengthening the financial services workforce.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.  Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; HM Revenue & Customs; HM Treasury and the Ministry of Justice.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording 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

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Business Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates