Press Release

PIMFA Launches Diversity Conference to Help Tackle Diversity & Inclusion Gap in Financial Services 

Wednesday 6th February 2019


PIMFA, the trade association for investment managers and financial advisers welcomed delegates from across the industry yesterday to their inaugural Wealth of Diversity Conference.  The conference, sponsored by EY, addressed key initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, and gave insights into best practice for promoting culture and diversity in the workplace.

The day was opened by keynote speaker John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, UK Government, who highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion and reemphasised the government’s commitment to these issues, saying: “we need an inclusive workforce for many reasons, and ethics is but one of those reasons. It is simply the right thing to do and to expect…it is a hallmark of a civilised society. Ethics aside, there’s also a strong commercial case for real diversity”.  He then went on to cite research from various sources including the 2015 McKinsey report which as has shown that improving gender parity within the workplace could realistically add £150 billion in UK GDP by 2025*.

Glen also highlighted the success of the Women in Finance Charter with over 300 signatories and its role as a useful framework for helping firms to set targets for developing and implementing change – even inspiring other countries such as Brazil and China to undertake similar initiatives – and stated that the focus now needs to be on how to maximise its impact to drive further positive movement.

Throughout the day, speakers from the investment management and financial advice community discussed the benefits of encouraging women returners, engaging young people and encouraging young female talent, accessing diverse communities including the underprivileged as potential employment pools, and of implementing changes to meet the specific needs of an altering client base.  The requirement to respond to the shift towards women in the gender balance regarding ownership and control of personal and family finances was particularly emphasised.

Alongside the practical hints and tips for firms on how to put appropriate policies in place, shift organisational culture, and learn from peers, a recurring theme was the robust business case for diverse and inclusive approaches supported by hard facts such as how firms with greater gender and ethnic diversity on their executive teams are 21%-33% more likely to outperform on profitability than their counterparts*.

With only 1 in 10 management jobs in the UK held by members of the Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) community, and women making up just 14% of Executive Committee positions (and an average of 23% on Boards)**, these types of statistics highlighted that much work to improve diversity remains to be done.  As Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Treasury Minister, said “this requires a long-term culture change and we need to use evidence-based interventions to bring that about”.

Closing keynote speaker Andrew Bailey, CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority, highlighted that FCA views culture as a major indicator of a firm’s conduct in the market and that firms’ approach to diversity and inclusion was a key part of that culture. So is the assignment of conduct responsibility to individuals within the firm, which is a central tenet of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) that will affect over 47 000 firms from December 2019 onwards.  He went on to say that the FCA as an employer was equally keen to learn from good examples within the industry and highlighted FCA’s aim to achieve 50% of female leaders within the organisation by 2025.

In summing up the day, Liz Field, CEO of PIMFA said: “It is great to see that the issue of diversity and equality is now the subject of a crucial discussion happening within financial services. With an increasingly diverse client base and shifting wealth patterns, the need for diversity in our workforce is fundamental, not just to meet the needs of existing and potential clients, but also to help shape perceptions, and attract and retain the best talent.”

PIMFA will continue to run additional Diversity initiatives within this series throughout 2019.




Notes for Editors

About PIMFA – the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association


  • PIMFA is the leading trade association for firms that provide investment management and financial advice to everyone from individuals and families to charities, pension funds, trusts and companies.
  • PIMFA represents both full and associate member firms. Full members provide a range of financial solutions including financial advice, portfolio management, as well as investment and execution services. They assist everyone from individuals and families, to charities and pension funds, all the way to trusts and companies.  Associate members provide professional services to the PIMFA community.
  • PIMFAleads the debate on policy and regulatory recommendations to ensure that the UK remains a global centre of excellence in the wealth management, investment advice and financial planning arena.  Our mission is to create an optimal operating environment so that its member firms can focus on delivering the best service to clients, providing responsible stewardship for their long-term savings and investments.
  • PIMFA was created in 2017 as the outcome of a merger between the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) and the Wealth Management Association (WMA) with a history as a trade association going back for 27 years – read more.

*     McKinsey & Company Diversity Matters Report, 2015 – read the full report here.

**     Randstad Diversity and Inclusion in Financial Services Report – read the full report here.



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