The FCA’s executive director of consumers and competition Sheldon Mills spoke recently at the launch event for a report on Accelerating Black Inclusion published by think tank New Financial. Mills outlined why black inclusion matters to the regulator.
‘Diversity and inclusion have been important to the FCA for some time,’ he said, ‘both as a regulator and as an employer. The events following George Floyd’s murder drove very open discussions across the FCA. These discussions made us think how we could do more and do better as an employer. We listened and recognised our challenges.’
He explained said there is a lack of black people across senior roles in the financial services sector, with only 10 out of 297 chairs, chief executives or finance chiefs coming from an ethnic minority background. He added that there is a ‘strong business case’ for improving diversity.
Mills went on to highlight the challenges many black people face in the workplace and emphasised that even senior black people in financial services who have seemingly ‘made it’ are still subjected racism in the workplace. Subtle and insidious racism, he said, is one of the many obstacles black people must overcome to succeed.
Mills affirmed that greater representation is needed at all levels, arguing that ‘diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not about competing priorities, just a need to recognise that groups are different, and that we need to think about how we include them in different ways.’
He concluded by stressing that ‘for change to occur, leaders must commit to meaningful action in how they conduct their business, lead their organisations and serve a diverse range of communities.’
Last year the FCA published its Ethnicity Action Plan which focuses on taking action as an employer to improve black, Asian and minority ethnic representation and inclusion.
You can read the full speech here.
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