Culture, talent and inclusion are business imperatives. Investment management firms realise that these have a real impact on a company’s long-term reputation and sustainability. It is the underlying culture that influences the way people think, act and make decisions, which in turn impacts the inclusivity of an organisation and its talent more widely.
Successful businesses create an environment where people want to work, where they feel challenged, able to use their talents, and are valued. Which is why we want to create a equitable, diverse and inclusive UK investment industry at all levels, including in our own organisation.
The IA’s Culture, Talent and Inclusion (CTI) team lead the CTI workstream, which captures initiatives that seek to support member firms across the whole employee lifecycle, from entry level talent to senior and c-suite roles. Importantly, this is all underpinned by equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations.
IA members can access the member-only CTI webpage, which acts as a resource platform for CTI related resources and policies, including those that are member-access only, here.
Cross-industry mentoring and reverse mentoring for change
A cross-industry mentoring programme for senior black professionals in investment management has been launched by Investment20/20, the Investment Association’s talent solution, and #talkaboutblack, part of the Diversity Project.
Coinciding with Black History Month, the programme is the latest initiative from Investment20/20 and #talkaboutblack focused on empowering black talent at all levels in investment management. As part of a pilot scheme, that will be continued if it is successful, 16 black professionals with typically 15 years’ plus experience in the industry have been matched with 16 c-suite industry leaders from different investment management companies.
The programme aims to harness the power of mentoring from industry leaders to create a constructive environment, based on long-term trusted relationships, for senior black professionals to develop, thrive and progress into senior executive roles. The programme will also provide reverse mentoring to current executive leaders by allowing them to benefit from and act upon insight into the lived experiences of black people in the industry.
More information can be found here.
The IA have launched the Fifth Edition of the Culture Framework, produced in partnership with Latham & Watkins, which is accessible to IA members.
The Culture Framework, developed in partnership with Latham & Watkins, is a non-prescriptive resource which seeks to help bridge the theory/ practice divide by offering a practical toolkit, informed (amongst other things) by recent insights, trends and real-life case studies – from which firms can draw, informing their own approach to culture change.
Since the Framework’s initial publication in 2019, a number of updates and revisions have been integrated to reflect the evolving discussions surrounding culture, as well as the progress seen across the industry on such matters. This year, the Framework has also been revamped, moving onto an interactive platform, to improve accessibility and usability for firms.
The Framework includes a self-assessment framework which acts as a one-stop guide intended to assist firms to benchmark their current culture standing through presenting a number of key questions and considerations for firms to take through each stage of their cultural journey. The self-assessment framework can be utilised at enterprise, division, department or desk level – with such modification or tailoring as appropriate. Members can consistently input their own evidence as they see fit. Each section of the self-assessment framework also links back to the relevant section of the toolkit in order to provide members with additional support and practical insights where necessary.
The purpose of this Framework is not to add to the already extensive body of academic literature on cultural theory. Rather, this Framework applies a concertedly practical lens, through which firms can constructively approach this important subject in operational practice.
It is also important to acknowledge that every firm is different – whether structural, operational, product, client-base or scale perspective, and accordingly, there is no single ‘right’ approach to instituting positive and enduring cultural change. What suits one firm, may be inapt for another; and proportionality of approach will likely be a key consideration when using this Framework.
It therefore is not, and cannot be, prescriptive. Ultimately it is for each firm to determine its own optimal approach to cultural change and oversight, but it is hoped that this Framework provides a helpful starting point and much ‘food for thought’ for those firms keen to understand how culture and its ‘direction of travel’ can be measured and monitored in a meaningful way.
We have been encouraged that cultivating and maintaining a healthy culture has continued to be a priority for the industry in the face of the many challenges we all, as both businesses and individuals, have navigated. Firms cannot afford to get their culture wrong, and the Framework is an essential resource to help the industry to understand culture, how it develops and how it can be measured and monitored in a meaningful way.
The IA's landmark Future World of Work project, which is a member-only resource, was born out of the recognition that while the industry continues to navigate the ever-changing environment in which it operates, focus has increasingly been drawn away from solely looking to the here and now, and onto what the future of work will look like.
We now have the opportunity to build on the insights and experiences gained, reimagine our organisational and workplace structures, and invest in a stronger and more inclusive organisational culture.
To support the industry in doing so, the IA commissioned a series of thought leadership pieces, written by subject matter experts from within and outside the industry, supplemented by a number of member case studies. These seek to support internal discussions and help each firm to determine their own optimal approach by providing non-prescriptive insights on three key areas:
Importantly, these are underpinned by diversity and inclusion considerations and the future regulatory environment.
We recognised that members wanted to see how the industry is changing and so we have looked for insights from a wide variety of sources, including our membership, to help ensure we maintain our position as a global leading centre for investment management.
It is our hope that this acts as an invaluable tool for firms as they navigate both the real opportunities and the inevitable challenges ahead.
Investment20/20, the IA’s talent solution, is integral to our entry level support. Investment20/20 is focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive investment industry. It is driven to ensure: every individual has the capability to succeed and thrive; aspiring professionals can learn, grow and create value for the firms that seek to attract and retain them; and that workforces are truly reflective of the investors, communities and people we serve. More information can be found on Investment20/20 through their website here.
External initiatives we’re encouraging the industry to support:
We’ve voluntarily disclosed our own gender pay gap figures, as we think greater transparency is essential to achieve change and increase gender diversity. We also collect anonymous data on our employees’ ethnicity through our annual Employee Diversity Survey.