Diversity and inclusion in financial services has become a pressing issue in recent years, and people are starting to take it seriously.
Ben Goss, co-founder of Dynamic Planner, the company that provides a financial planning system and risk-rates investment funds, has already built a diverse workforce, although “there is still work to do”.
Dynamic Planner has 75 employees, 40 per cent of whom are women, and there are multiple ethnicities, religious beliefs, and geographical origins.
He says: “I’m very proud of what we’ve built at Dynamic Planner.
“We sit at the confluence of two industries that are not hugely diverse.
“Financial services is one of them, and women in technology are relatively few; ethnic minorities in certain roles in technology are probably also few.
“Our firm was started by three men that still work here today”.
But now, he says, it is staffed with people from 12 different countries from across Europe, Africa and Asia.
“We have people from the north of England, Wales and Scotland; we are a pretty diverse group, and mostly that just happened [organically].”
However, he says earlier on the company had to work for it.
This meant being quite clear to agencies when they were hiring that they wanted more diverse candidates.
“We would tell our agencies: ‘You have to include long lists that have more women.’
“We had to repeat that message a number of times. Now it’s very normal.
“If you look at our website you will see lots of people from different ethnic backgrounds.”
However, he adds, Dynamic Planner still has to work harder, closer to the top of the company.
“We have one female director [out of five directors] – we have work to do within our executive management team.”
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Lower down the ranks at team leader level there are more women than men, he adds, with five out of eight of the individuals being female.
Dynamic Planner came about as a result of a mix of Mr Goss’ experiences and insight into what would make financial advice easier.
He can date his awareness back to his student days when he used to give “advice” to people over the phone, based on a script.
Even then, despite his lack of experience of the real world, he sensed that it did not feel right.
After university he worked as a strategy consultant at PwC in the banking and insurance sectors, but he felt that people should be given a better way of getting financial advice.
“Most people, broadly, are not very interested in financial services; they’re more interested in holidays and jobs, and a pension comes a long way down the list.”
His first business, Sort, which he set up in the late 1990s, was the UK’s first online investment adviser.