The Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions reflects the aspiration to create a world in which all talent can thrive equally in business and at every level across the financial and professional services sectors.
The Charter also reflects a recognition by signatory firms and supporting institutions that, while there has been a focus and progress on diversity in other areas, there is a particular problem with the recruitment, career progression, retention and promotion of Black talent in the financial and professional services sectors.
In the 2011 Census, 18.5% of the population of London (the heart of the banking and finance sectors and the professions) identified as Black or Mixed. Nine years later, it is reasonable to assume that this number has increased to over 20%. However, the representation of Black/Mixed talent in senior executive positions in financial institutions and the professions bears no resemblance to these figures. In July 2020, Financial News reported data from leading banking headhunters in the City, which showed that, out of the 650 senior investment bankers at London's top 11 investment banks, only 3 were Black.
Similarly, in October 2020, out of 593 barristers in the six sets described by The Lawyer magazine as the ‘Magic Circle’ sets at the UK Commercial Bar, there were only 5 Black barristers.
In the same month, the Financial Reporting Council’s 2019 report on Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession revealed that BAME individuals made up only 6.7% of partner roles at the largest firms, and that “glaringly” no firms with under 200 employees reported that they had BAME managers.
This lack of progress cannot be allowed to continue. Equality of opportunity is a moral imperative. In addition, a diverse workforce and diversity in senior leadership are good for business, especially in international global markets – they are good for customers and investors, good for business growth and profitability, and good for workplace culture.
The Fundamental Objective
The fundamental objective of the Charter is to bring about long-overdue and meaningful change through action led from the top of each firm by senior executives who are fully accountable for the delivery of progress measured against clear action plans and ambitious targets.
In this way, firms will be able to
strengthen their workplace cultures, challenge ingrained thinking and address the risk of stereotyping and unconscious bias
'level up’ and create an environment in which Black professionals can
at last begin to feel confident, not just about prospects for recruitment into the financial and professional services, but about progressing their careers and aspiring to lead and to be represented at the highest levels of top organisations; and
do so without fear of being deprived of proper opportunities to develop their talents, to realise their ambitions and to make a full contribution to their firms and to the wider economy.
The Financial Sector and the Professions
Any organisation, institution, corporation, firm or association that believes in these basic principles and aspirations will wish to sign and publicly support the Charter. And those who have made public declarations of a commitment to respond to the global outcry against discrimination will be able to match their words with meaningful and measurable action.
Interest in the Charter is welcomed from all institutions, regulatory bodies, corporations, firms, and associations of any type and size.