I remember back in the first decade of this century. Facebook became big, and a while after that, the finance industry exploded with training courses and consultancies on how to "leverage" Facebook. That was the point at which, for me, Facebook ceased to be a new thing and became an old thing - or at least, a thing so established that even your bank manager (in the old-fashioned sense of "bank manager") could admit to knowing about it.
Okay. So the title of the release is: "PIMFA is proud signatory of HM Treasury's Women In Finance Charter." No disrespect to PIMFA, nor indeed the Treasury, but I went to Sibos in Toronto, for Innotribe, and heard more presentations by women than by men (I wasn't counting, but I'm pretty sure), and while I kind of noticed it, I didn't think much about it. Various nationalities, ethnicities, et cetera, as well, but they're not my point here. I didn't think much about it - that's my point. I didn't think - gosh, that presenter's female! Nor did anybody else, and I'm only thinking about it now because this release has arrived. Change creeps up on us. By the time we notice it happening - it's happened.
Diversity can mean many things, but in the context of this media release, it mostly means women. What I'm saying is, if the finance industry (Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association, since you ask) is onto diversity, in the way that it got onto Facebook a decade ago, we can pretty much assume that we have diversity. We're there on that one. It's happened. That crunching you hear underfoot - yes, it's broken glass.
Anyway, here's the release. It argues for diversity, and makes some interesting points in favour of diversity, and never mind that we're there already. I think it marks a turning point - albeit a turning point that you can only see if you look in your rear-view mirror.
PIMFA is proud signatory of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter
PIMFA, the leading trade association for the personal investment management and financial advice sector in the UK, is one of the latest organisations to sign HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
The Charter’s aim is to work together to build a fairer, more balanced industry - highlighting that a balanced workforce is good for ‘business, customers, profitability and workplace culture, and is increasingly attractive for investors’.
Research such as the 2015 report from McKinsey consultants has demonstrated the benefits seen by diverse organisations who actually perform better - respondents in the top quartile for gender diversity were "15 per cent more likely to produce better returns than their local peers. Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were even more likely to do better. The same applied at the bottom end of the scale — less diverse companies were less likely to do well". This pattern was also borne out across industries - “for every 10 per cent improvement in gender diversity, firms saw a 2-4 per cent increase in profits.”
As part of this commitment PIMFA will run regular forums over the year to address key issues in the diversity area. One series is our Women in Wealth Forum and another is our Millennial Forum. The aim of both of these is to help understand how the business culture in the financial services sector affects different segments of our community and how we can see ways to improve both conditions of work and quality of life for all categories of employee.
It is important to recognise the industry’s need to adapt as working lifestyles change and we believe the industry is embracing the positive movement towards work/life balance with flexible working, returnships, part time working etc. This kind of approach to work is taking root especially as technology develops and makes it easier to work from home or conduct meetings by video rather than necessarily always in person. The increased use of technological changes to help improve and diversify the nature of the work experience and input is a pointer to the future.
Liz Field, CEO at PIMFA commented saying: “We need to ‘up’ the conversation on diversity in the sector. Diversity has proven benefits and we intend to lead the way in emphasising this through our signing of the Charter. We are committed to developing a culture of diversity and sophistication of approach in the business area we represent and will continue to provide practical assistance to firms in developing the diversity conversation. The clients and families we look after will expect us to be progressive in our thinking and to reflect the diversity of the client base in the firms we run. Our signing of the Charter is our commitment to diversity at all levels and we encourage our member firms to do the same.”