In Focus: Modern financial planner  

‘A lot more’ for industry to do to attract diverse talent

Head of responsible business consultancy at St James’s Place, Maria Spooner, said: “The report shows there’s clearly still a lot more our industry must do to attract diverse talent into financial services and ensure progression within it. 

“The findings sadly aren’t surprising but do bring a spotlight on this important issue and should be a catalyst for focusing efforts to ensure fair representation of people from all walks of life can be achieved across the sector. 

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“Understanding the full picture and raising awareness is a positive step in driving change and supporting development for all.”

Spooner said at SJP, the firm engages with employees to understand the journeys individuals take which includes asking questions on socio-economic background. 

“There is still much to do to strengthen the external pipeline of talent and attract a greater range of people to work within our sector but one area we have seen early success is in our early careers approach, working with organisations and charities to help encourage diverse young talent into our business,” she said.

“When in the business, supporting employees to establish mentoring relationships and developing thriving communities of networks are important in helping them achieve their potential and getting them to where they want to be in their careers.”

New rules

Last year, the regulator proposed changes to its listing rules as a way of improving transparency on the diversity of listed company boards and their executive management teams. 

The regulator consulted on rules to require companies to disclose annually on a comply or explain basis whether they meet specific board diversity targets and to publish diversity data on their boards and executive management.

However at the time, law firm CMS said the FCA's diversity and inclusion listing rules will be “difficult to meet” for the majority of firms.

The FCA will not be setting quotas for companies to meet as the listing rule diversity targets are not mandatory. Instead it will provide a positive benchmark for issuers to report against. 

The benchmarks are for at least 40 per cent of the board to be women, at least one of the senior board positions (chair, chief executive officer, chief financial officer or senior independent director) to be a woman and at least one member of the board to be from an ethnic minority background.

It is also making changes to its disclosure and transparency rules to require companies to include key board committees and consider broader aspects of diversity. 

The rules began applying to listed companies for financial accounting periods starting from April 1, 2022.

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