Diversity and inclusion – why it matters to us

Diversity and inclusion are central to how we act, as an employer and a regulator, and are at the heart of our mission.

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 we must look for ways to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people with a protected characteristic and those without – both within the FCA and in how we regulate.

Our approach

Our 2020 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 also 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 make sure we meet our aspirations to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, and we need to maintain momentum, making further progress to make sure we 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 carers. The senior champions for each of our networks sit on our Executive Diversity Committee, which is chaired by the COO. 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. In the last year this included the formation of a BAME Women’s Group.

Our Divisions are engaged in local initiatives to build an inclusive culture. Each Division now has its own diversity and inclusion working group and local action plan.

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

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 were pleased, for a consecutive year, to be placed in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list in July 2020. We were placed at 23 in the Social Mobility Index top 50 in 2019 and have become signatories of the Social Mobility Pledge and the related coronavirus (Covid-19) pledge in 2020. 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.

We achieved 59th place in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and are a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion. We’re also members of StandOUT, the Financial Public Sector LGBT+ Network (including the Bank of England, Financial Ombudsman Service, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Money Advice Service and the Pensions Regulator).

In 2018 we won a Business Disability Forum Disability-Smart award for ‘workplace adjustment innovation of the year’ for the inclusive design of our Stratford headquarters. 

You can read more about our diversity and inclusion strategy and the actions we’ve taken at the FCA in our Annual Diversity Report 2020.

Read more about our current priority areas of focus and our action plans: