Diversity and Inclusion  

Black History Month: The industry’s push to a more inclusive culture

Black History Month: The industry’s push to a more inclusive culture
The City of London (Credit: Carmen Reichman, FTAdviser)

Firms across the industry are pushing towards a more inclusive workforce as many have launched initiatives in light of Black History Month.

Black History Month, taking place for the whole of October, was initially created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. 

It was a way to honour all Black people from all periods of history but it has since been adopted in the UK and with that, by the financial services industry. 

First up, the regulator. Diversity and inclusion is an area the Financial Conduct Authority has been leading on.

In September last year, the FCA published an ethnicity action plan to hold itself accountable for progress and set an example to the firms it regulates.  

The regulator said it has a race and ethnicity network group called Spectrum which runs a series of events for staff in line with this year’s theme: Proud To Be.

Staff have the opportunity to hear from senior Black colleagues about their backgrounds and career paths, and attend presentations on Black scientists/inventors, the intersection of race and gender, and Black women leaders.

The FCA said as part of its initiative, it will also be highlighting some of its Black staff on its Twitter feed.

This comes as in August, the regulator wrote to the chairmen of remuneration committees at financial services firms, urging them to review pay data in light of diversity and inclusion and to act swiftly to address any disparities.

The FCA reiterated that increasing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment, where every member of staff is valued for their contributions, was a key element of a healthy work culture. 

Prior to that, the City watchdog also proposed changes to its listing rules as a way of improving transparency on the diversity of listed company boards and their executive management teams. 

Elsewhere in the industry, St James's Place has signed up to initiatives such as the 1000 Black interns project, which aims to increase representation, raise visibility and help create future black business leaders. 

It said it had three interns join this summer through the project, spending eight weeks in its investment division.

The advice firm will also be holding a variety of events and sharing resources that focus on learning about what makes every person unique and celebrating these differences as strengths.

This includes sharing stories, panel discussions, spoken word showcases, networking quizzes, and sharing recipes and food stories from across the firm's community.

The advice giant is also a signatory of the BITC Race at Work charter, committing to increasing ethnic minority representation across the business to 10 per cent by 2023. 

The firm said: “We recognise the importance of increasing black and ethnic minority representation and inclusion at SJP.