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Blog: Diversity and inclusion

Diversity

In a sponsored post, Close Brothers' Paul Trail considers how the business has developed its D&I approach and calls for greater industry action.

The evidence is overwhelming that a diverse and inclusive employee base is a big asset to businesses, financially as well as culturally and societally.

A 2019 report from Global Future surveyed 2,000 UK adults and found that nearly seven in 10 of us agree that diversity has improved our culture, against 15% who disagree. Food, music and sport are the cultural industries where people believe diversity has had the greatest impact.

History
Close Brothers Group has a long history. The Bank was founded in 1878, and Close Brothers Premium Finance (CBPF) was launched in 1977, the first of its kind in the market. Businesses like ours that succeed over many decades must be adaptable, and CBPF is a modern, adaptable, progressive business.

As part of Close Brothers Group, we have made a number of D&I commitments, including the 30% club (30% female representation on the Plc Board). We are also members of Stonewall and the Business Disability Forum. These bodies help us to develop best practice, and enable businesses great and small to measure how they’re performing against their peers. 

We are signatories to the Women in Finance Charter and aim to have 36% of female senior managers across the group by 2025. This is a key priority for us at CBPF. The Charter was launched in 2016 to boost the numbers of women working in financial services, especially in middle and upper tiers of management.

Close Brothers is a signatory to The Race at Work Charter, which was developed by Business in the Community (BITC) in response to research that shows racial equality will benefit the UK economy by £24bn per year, the equivalent to 1.3% of GDP.  

Organisations with more diverse teams have 36% better financial returns, yet only one in 16 people at senior levels in the private and public sector are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

Future
It would be great if, as a result of all our efforts to improve diversity in our industry, in due course businesses could sit alongside the cultural industries as great examples of diversity in the UK.

After all, in insurance, our customers, both personal and commercial, are a diverse group, and it is important that we as a premium finance provider, and as an industry, reflect the customers we serve, among our own employees and in our commitment to D&I in general.

Paul Trail is managing director of Close Brothers Premium Finance.

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