Our aim is for the Women’s Recognition Awards to be a key part of the work being done in all corners of the industry to improve diversity, promote equity, and foster inclusion. With that in mind, we asked our panel of judges what they and their businesses were doing to support this work – including what they have coming up. Here’s what some of them had to say:
Rob Barnard, Pepper Money
Pepper Money has been at the forefront of addressing discrimination and inequality within the mortgage industry. We have actively engaged in sharing best practices and delivering training to peers through industry associations and working groups, fostering a collaborative approach to creating positive change. Our commitment to inclusivity extends beyond internal efforts, as we strive to create inclusive industry events where all attendees feel comfortable and a sense of belonging. Additionally, we have made significant contributions to the UK Finance and FCA discussion papers on diversity and inclusion in financial services, ensuring that our expertise and insights contribute to shaping policies and practices that promote a more equitable and diverse industry landscape. Through these initiatives, Pepper Money continues to drive meaningful progress towards a fairer and more inclusive mortgage industry for all.
Ranila Ravi-Burslem, Scottish Widows & Embark, Lloyds Banking Group
Scottish Widows continue to lead the way on highlighting the gender pension gap, with our Women & Retirement Reports, events, consumer campaigns and partnerships. We are a part of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), which is committed to becoming a leader in gender diversity, with the goal set to have 50% women in senior roles by 2025. We’re also proud co-sponsors of the FTSE Women Leaders review, and signatories of the Women in Finance Charter, and our women’s employee network ‘Breakthrough’ is one of the largest of its kind in the UK with 10,000 members and 4,000 mentors. LBG have also been recognised for our efforts to build a more inclusive workplace, including being named Times Top Employer for Women for the last eleven years, being included on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the last five years and being named Top 10 Employer for Working Families on six occasions since 2015.
Joela Jenvey, Landbay
Landbay are proud to have firmly established a pro-active Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee. It exists to create pathways for our team to be heard, and to make sure Landbay has an accurate awareness of the matters important to our people. Our aim is to create a standard against which we can achieve accountability, by setting goals and regularly reviewing progress. We listen and reflect, challenge the status quo, and commit to changing course where we can support welfare and nurture our valued culture.
Tiba Raja, MFS
As well as sponsoring the Women’s Recognition Awards, we have recently pushed women in our organisation to have their say on gender equality. Several of our female executive team have contributed to Business Loan Directory’s Women in Finance interviews which will be released over the coming weeks, and we recently hosted a dinner in partnership with Savills Private Finance, and Master Private Finance to bring together women in the industry and discuss how we can push the industry forward. I am personally part of women’s section of the Asian Jewish Business Network where we share our experiences and support our colleagues where we can.
We use a recruitment agency that has the same ethos as us that talent, no matter the background should not be discriminated in any way, so that from the onset we employ a talented diverse team with different backgrounds and experience - sharing and celebrating different cultures, religions and acknowledging that everyone is different!
Niki Cooke, Protection Guru
I am lobbying for change in the protection industry in the treatment of menopause and how insurers can support the symptoms in the workplace. I am particularly passionate about making support easily accessible for women: how protection plans and support services become easily accessible for women, and signposting where they can easily find help and support, and encouraging equality for women and their employers in the workplace. You can read some of our recent articles on Protection Guru here!
Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank
UK Financial Services firms are invited to join our new membership body - the first of its kind, focusing on progression, retention and socio-economic diversity, and launched as part of a government commissioned taskforce, with a supporter network of over 100 employers. Involvement will have an impact across the sector and demonstrate your commitment to making a change – as well as boosting your ‘S’ in the ESG credentials, at the same time as attracting and retaining the best talent.
Progress Together aims to level the playing field – to create a financial services sector in the United Kingdom in which everyone working in it, from all socio-economic backgrounds, is both enabled and has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. A diverse workforce brings different perspectives that will inevitably lead to better decision-making, new approaches and higher productivity. By making the most of all talent within the firm, organisations will maximise their global competitiveness.
Nicola Goldie, Virgin Money
I lead the IMLA DE&I Group where we run bi-monthly ‘lunch and learn’ education sessions where we invite people along as speakers on key topics such as neurodiversity to help shine a light on these subject with a view to these being taken back to workplaces to share and help support positive change. I am also one of the steering group members for the AMI/IMLA Working in Mortgages activity - the taskforces are underway, with one of the first exciting deliveries being a new cross industry mentoring app!
Stephanie Hydon, iPipeline UK
The Women in Protection Network! Committed to making protection inclusive and accessible, so more people can get financially fit, the Network was set up to raise awareness of the need for more female consumers to buy protection insurance, and to encourage more women to work in our industry. The Network also works with The Mentor Standard and the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse.
Jeremy Duncombe, Accord Mortgages
Accord was the first lender to launch an Inclusion & Diversity Partnership Charter, and is a core contributor to Inclusion initiatives run by AMI & IMLA. Our Growth Series includes extensive content to support brokers to be more inclusive.
Rachel East, Key Group
At Key, we are acutely aware that in order to better support our customers our team needs to be not only diverse but inclusive as well. Currently, 23% of our advisers are women and we are working hard to not only upskill members of our team through initiatives such as Dementia Friends but also by developing leadership potential. With regular training, workshops and a formal Leadership Academy which can be accessed by all people managers, we are committed to helping people grow their careers.
Emma Roberts, Connect for Intermediaries
Connect is an advocate of cultural diversity and recruits from a whole range of diversity and characteristics placing Connect in a strong position to being able to advise across everyone needing quality mortgage advice. We are extremely proud to be an inclusive business and industry champion including a member of DIFF, member of the Task Force working party for AMI industry inclusion and Woman in Finance Charter. We are also proud to be a member of the Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter (MIMHC).
Connect continues to drive positive change, looking for initiative that will benefit the Connect team and in turn also benefit Connect advisers and network members. Connect believes that supporting the team in both their work and home Life creates a balanced workforce, good for business, good for customers and good for workplace culture. This has kicked off with senior managers participation in a Managers’ Mental Health Workshop.
Eloise Hall, Kensington Mortgages
Kensington is committed to creating an inclusive place to work, for everyone. Our approach to D&I has been focused on education but also creating an environment where supportive and honest conversations can take place. We have an active employee resource group (since 2019) that is leading on bottom up initiatives aligned to overall D&I strategy.
In the last 3 years we have:
- Sponsored Reading Pride to show our support for the LGBTQ+ community, worked with Stonewall to review all relevant policies to make sure we use inclusive language, trained a group from the D&I Forum on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace
- Increased Second Parent (paternity) leave allowance and eligibility (no need for minimum tenure to qualify for time off)
- Increased and made equal to both parents special leave and allowance following baby loss and miscarriage
- Published and implemented Menopause Support Practice and Signed Menopause Support Pledge
- Run multiple awareness campaigns focused on Race inclusion, Ethnicity inclusion, Mental Health and Disability
- Trained all line managers on D&I by launching a bespoke e-learn
- Launched bespoke e-learn for all employees on D&I
- Collaborated with Samaritans to train all customer service staff members on how to support for vulnerable customers and people
- Joined the Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter as a signatory to continue our internal pledge to support those with ill mental health
Lauren Fuller, NatWest Group
We are launching Allyship at Work with Lean In this year, as part of a collaboration with our Multicultural, Enable & Rainbow networks.
Cerys Williams, Sero
Sero is a proud B Corp and aim to incorporate fairness and equality in every aspect of what we do.
Barcadia Media Limited
|10th July 2023 at 10:00am