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Addressing inequalities in society - continuing the conversation

16 Dec 2020

Through a series of virtual events, we’ve continued bringing together perspectives and ideas to help us continue the conversation on improving diversity and inclusion. We’ve also received significant industry recognition for our work to address gender balance.

 

Bringing the outside in – sharing perspectives on inclusion

Following the opening event of our Diversity Summit series in September, we concluded our 2020 series with two further events.

At the end of October, over 100 of our employees joined guest speakers Anita Kirpal and Chris Whaley for an interactive session on ‘moving from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion’. The session looked at how we need to acknowledge that we all have unconscious biases, the power of these biases, and considered ways in which we can overcome them and foster inclusion instead. Anita is an experienced business psychologist, leadership consultant and executive coach, and a partner at Global Future LLP; and Chris, having learned first-hand about exclusion and intolerance at a young age, now helps organisations build safe, inclusive environments for their teams. 

Our final session in December highlighted how events of this year have shone a light on how existing inequalities in society have deepened – from the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, to the need to promote inclusion, connection and belonging across our communities. We were joined by: Dr. Doyin Atewologun, recognised in People Management magazine's Top 20 Diversity and Inclusion ‘Power List’ for 2020; Kedisha Ebanks, who is based in the US and is a member of EY’s Anti-Racism Advisory Council; and Brett Jollie, Managing Director for our business in Australia. 

Following the events, Lynne Connolly, our Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, commented:

“Many thought that diversity and inclusion would lose momentum in the context of a global pandemic. With all of its challenges, 2020 has in fact created more conversations than ever before. From the impact of remote working on our feelings of being connected, to the effect of longstanding inequalities on today’s communities, there’s much to reflect on as we move into 2021.

At the same time, a lot of people avoid such conversations because we feel awkward and don’t want to make mistakes, or because we don’t want to offend. It’s important that we don’t hold back from these difficult conversations, such as those about our unconscious biases. The more that we normalise talking about such topics, the more likely we are to make everyone feel included and able to be themselves, and the more psychologically safe our teams become.”

We had the opportunity to reflect further on events of 2020 as our ethnicity and multicultural network, Unity, hosted a live discussion and Q&A for our colleagues with guest speaker David Olusoga OBE. David is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester, presenter of the TV show A House Through Time and the author of Black and British: A Forgotten History. During the session, David talked about what our history reveals about contemporary society and the lasting effects of the British Empire, as well as reflecting on how the events of 2020 have acted as a tipping point for social change.

The event was hosted by DJ Matt White, with support from two of our Graduate Business Analysts, Rory Hardie and Sarah Mbanaso. It’s one of the ways in which we’ve encouraged our people to learn more about Black and ethnic minority colleagues and communities, helping us to be active allies and tackle systemic changes needed to address racism and injustice.

 

Recognition from our industry – addressing gender balance

Alongside working to promote better ethnic minority balance in our company and our industry, we also prioritise achieving better gender balance. Our success at recent industry awards reflects the progress we are making in improving gender representation and creating opportunities for women to make an impact in our industry. 

At the inaugural Citywire Gender Diversity Awards, we won in the category for ‘Regional Leaders Europe (100+ managers)’, reflecting the positive impact we’re having on gender equality. The awards focused on representation of women in asset management businesses, across 16 categories. We were also shortlisted in the equivalent ‘Regional Leaders’ categories for Asia and the US, as well as for ‘Best Gender Representation’ and ‘Most improved on gender diversity (100+ managers)’.

We also celebrated success in two categories at the recent Investment Week Women in Investments Awards. Amie Chesworth won Fund Selector of the Year, just ahead of Katie Trowsdale who was highly commended in the same category. There was further success in the Fund Analyst of the Year category, where Anjli Shah was highly commended.

Our ongoing commitment

A commitment to transparency, and to promoting best practice, are important ways in which we contribute to improving gender equality in our industry. In December we published our fourth annual gender report which includes our UK gender pay gap disclosure. We will continue to publish this annually, even if the UK Government extends its temporary suspension of reporting requirements. 

We have had gender targets in place since 2016, and were delighted to achieve these in 2020 for Board and senior leadership levels. From 1 January 2021 we are setting targets which build on our progress to date in gender diversity, and also reflect our ongoing commitment to address racial inequality.