President’s Message - August 2021

Anna Lane asks members to respond to the discussion paper jointly published by the Bank of England, FCA and PRA that asks financial services firms, and other stakeholders (like us), to join in the debate on how the pace of meaningful change in the sector’s D&I can be accelerated.

I am writing in the middle of everyone’s summer holidays as there is an important opportunity to get involved in a key initiative for diversity and inclusion (D&I) – even if you’re currently abroad or on a staycation – and that can’t wait for a September start.

The reason? We need to respond to the discussion paper jointly published by the Bank of England, FCA and PRA that asks financial services firms, and other stakeholders (like us), to join in the debate on how the pace of meaningful change in the sector’s D&I can be accelerated.

Titled “DP 21/2: Diversity and inclusion in the financial sector – working together to drive change”, the paper is a crucial chance for WIBF to put forward our informed view on how our sector could make the strides still needed to “create truly diverse and inclusive organisations that meet the diverse needs of those we serve”.

In requesting responses, the regulators acknowledge that many firms – among whom our corporate partners will number – have taken steps to address the gaps that exist in middle and senior management, but that also affect those coming into the sector and those that it probably prevents joining. However, the publishers also rightly highlight the progress to date is not sufficient or moving forward quickly enough. Too few firms are making the changes necessary to their culture to allow women (among other demographics) to progress and achieve success. Hence the paper.

The day that this was published, I was hosting a panel discussion – wearing my day job ‘hat’ at The Wisdom Council – which saw the FCA join a conversation about culture. The webinar focused on the conundrum as to why inclusion remains such an issue. It poses questions where there are known answers, which frustrate too many individuals, who see a huge number of positives if the sector was more diverse and inclusive – and who are not just women!

During that session, the FCA’s representative, Georgina Philippou, was keen to stress (as it does in the paper) that there is a no “one size fits all” framework for this to work. Our response should reflect that. So no matter how you are related to WIBF, get involved.

The reasons behind the limited progress to date provide a knotted problem I hope to be able to help unpick during my time as President and CEO of WIBF. I am sure too that many reading this want the same outcome.

With the deadline of 30 September for submission looming, therefore, please let us know how you can get involved. This can be to help us answer any of the 29 questions posed in the paper, proof our submission, put forward information anonymously, provide a quote and/or add your signature to the paper. Any support is appreciated.

The link to get involved is here. I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible.

Thank you!

Anna Lane

WIBF President and CEO