Diversity and inclusion – why it matters to us

Diversity and inclusion are central to how we act, as an employer and a regulator.

Our message is clear: whether you’re the regulator or a regulated firm, diversity matters. A diversity of perspectives and thought, when part of an inclusive culture, results in better judgements and decision making in the public interest. It reduces the risk of groupthink and encourages innovation.

As a regulator, we know diversity and inclusion underpin good culture in firms – so they’re important features of how we evaluate firm culture and conduct.

As an employer, we need to reflect the society we serve. Our work touches almost every UK resident’s daily life, and the lives of millions who rely on UK markets. We operate in an increasingly complex environment and we need diverse teams capable of dealing with the challenges we face and the judgements we need to make every day.

As a public body, we must comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty, as an employer and in our regulatory activity. This means that we must, in the exercise of our functions, look for ways to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not – both within the FCA and in how we regulate.

Our approach

Our vision and equality objectives 

We take positive action to be a leading diverse and inclusive organisation, both as a regulator and an employer.

  • Reflecting the society we serve: we attract and develop a diverse mix of people at all levels of the organisation.
  • Inclusive culture: our working environment is inclusive. People can bring their whole selves to work and difference is embraced and celebrated.
  • Consumer-focused: we always consider the impact of our work on the different groups in the population.
  • Leading by example within the financial services sector, highlighting diversity and inclusion as an integral element of good conduct.

All aspects of diversity and inclusion are important to us. That includes diversity in the context of the 9 protected characteristics, but also in relation to experience, background and working style. 

Our Executive Diversity Committee priorities are gender, ethnicity and social mobility. We remain focused on all protected characteristics and other aspects of diversity and inclusion. But these are areas where we know we have some specific challenges, and where addressing those challenges could have a significant impact, not just for those groups, but for diversity and inclusion in the widest sense. We’re also increasingly focused on our role in diversity and inclusion within financial services as a regulator. 

As part of our focus on gender and leading by example, we signed the Women in Finance Charter in June 2016. This seeks to increase women’s representation in the financial services sector, particularly at senior levels. The Charter requires us to set and report on gender targets. We set targets for both gender and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) diversity at senior levels in the FCA, and we’re taking positive action across the organisation (whether we have targets or not) to meet our overall aspirations to be a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

We’re working hard to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, and we need to maintain momentum, making further progress to recruit and retain the best diverse talent and improve the balance in diversity of our people at all levels of the organisation. We continue to use our Positive Action Framework to equip line managers with the tools they need to take positive action through the employee lifecycle and in everyday leadership actions. The framework supports the implementation and development of our internal policies and practices to address under-representation.

Our commitment doesn’t just come from the top; it’s shaped by our people and active network groups. Making the organisation more dynamic and effective, these networks cover the full range of diversity considerations, including social mobility, ethnicity, gender, disability, LGBT+, nationality, faith and parents and carers. The senior champions for each of our networks sit on our Executive Diversity Committee, which is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer. Our networks are increasingly focused on intersectionality, working closely together in recognition that aspects of a person’s identity combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege; such work led to the formation of a BAME Women’s Group.

Our divisions are engaged in local initiatives to build an inclusive culture. Each division has its own local diversity action plan and inclusion working groups or champions.

Close links with the wider community and the consumers we protect are vital to helping us become a better regulator. For this reason, our community engagement work aligns directly with our work on diversity and inclusion.

Our achievements

Social mobility is at the forefront of our minds now more than ever, with societal inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. We were ranked 27th in the 2020 Social Mobility Employer Index (SMEI), retaining a strong position within this key benchmarking initiative, operated by the Social Mobility Foundation.  In 2020, we were one of 8 organisations to participate in the Bridge Group Report ‘Who gets ahead, and how?’ examining the relationship between socio-economic background and progression in the financial services industry.

We also signed the Race at Work Charter in 2019, the same year in which we published our ethnicity pay gap for the first time. Our pay gap and target reporting is in line with one of the principles in the Charter, to capture ethnicity data and publicise progress. In 2020, we decided to include another protected characteristic in our pay gap reporting, disability. There’s no mandatory requirement to report these pay gap figures, but we believe transparency drives action and continue this approach in 2021. We hope it encourages discussion, highlights areas where we need to make improvements and helps us to address our challenges. 

Stonewall decided not to open the Workplace Equality Index for submissions in 2020, and did not publish a 2021 Top Employers list, due to the challenges of the pandemic. However, we remain committed to LGBT+ inclusion and continue to drive work forwards in this space, having been placed 59 in the Stonewall 2020 Top Employers list.

This year, we climbed 25 places and ranked 63rd at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards, which celebrate the outstanding achievements of employers, agencies, students and universities in undergraduate work experience across the UK. We were also shortlisted for the Best Diversity Initiative Award, for our ‘Black Futures Programme’. This 3-day programme aims to upskill, inform and engage Black undergraduates and act as a diverse pipeline for our summer internship programme. 

Additionally, we won the ‘Most Inclusive Recruitment Campaign’ and were runner up for the ‘Greatest Impact Award’ at the 2020 RIDI Awards (Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative Awards), announced in December 2020.

You can read more about our diversity and inclusion strategy and the actions we’ve taken at the FCA in our Annual Diversity Report 2021(PDF).

Page updates

15/07/2021: Information changed Updates following our Annual Report 2020/21.