Empowerment Through Diversity: Highlights from the PIMFA Women’s Symposium

Four members of the Consilium Professional and Executive Risk Solutions team recently had the honour of attending the inaugural PIMFA Women’s Symposium.

Apr 24

Empowerment Through Diversity: Highlights from the PIMFA Women’s Symposium

Four members of the Consilium Professional and Executive Risk Solutions team recently had the honour of attending the inaugural PIMFA Women’s Symposium.

An entire event dedicated to empowering women in the investment management, financial advice and wealth management sectors, Roxy Zeb, Mia East, Katherine Jardine and Gemma Smith attended. The Symposium united industry leaders, high profile speakers and passionate professionals for a series of engaging discussions and enlightening sessions.

Creating a Safe and Inclusive Workplace

The Symposium kicked off with a welcome address by Liz Field, CEO of PIMFA, emphasising the importance of creating a safe, open and respectful workplace for all individuals.

Sheree Howard from the FCA provided a regulatory update, highlighting the concerning trend of women being deterred from financial services roles due to non-financial misconduct.

Breaking Barriers in Leadership

A thought provoking discussion followed, regarding the lack of women in executive roles, echoing findings from an EY study on the alarming disparity, despite improvements, in boardroom gender diversity.

The consensus was clear: the financial services sector must prioritise merit-based promotions and actively recruit from diverse backgrounds, including school leavers and individuals with alternative education paths.

Navigating Disruption with Diversity

Sneha Shah from SEI delivered a compelling talk on leading through disruption, highlighting the essential role of diverse talent in driving innovation and resilience.

As the pace of changes accelerates, embracing diverse perspectives becomes paramount for businesses to thrive. Sneha said,

“The pace of change is the fastest it will ever be and yet it is the slowest it will ever be.”

Sneha Shah, SEI

Women in Leadership

A panel discussion on Women in Leadership shed light on the importance of authenticity and resilience. The panellists, all successful CEOs and MDs, none of whom had attended university, shared candid insights into their career journeys.

The women emphasised the value of personal authenticity and the ability to adapt to life’s changes, recognising that we all have different skills and values to add, which play an important role in ensuring the success of a team.

The Importance of Male Allyship

While celebrating the achievements and insights of women, an underlying theme of the Symposium was the importance of male allyship in advancing gender equality in the workplace. Over the two day event, there were a number of occasions where male allies from different organisations actively participated in supporting the cause.

However, there remains a significant gap in male representation at such events. Consilium is one of the businesses hoping to spearhead efforts to encourage more male allies to engage in such events, recognising that their support is essential in driving meaningful change.

Combating Harassment

Joanne Austin’s session on Bystander Training then switched the conversation to harassment. The Bystander Effect is when everyone is waiting for someone else to do something, and is essential to overcome in order to ensure the victim is properly supported.

With 79% of people who were victims of harassment saying it helped when someone intervened, Joanne advised everyone to consider the “Five D’s”: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, Direct - which provides a framework for bystanders to effectively support victims and disrupt harmful behaviour.

Financial Empowerment and Wellbeing

Throughout the Symposium, sessions addressed topics such as financial literacy, burnout prevention and the gender disparities in pensions and wealth accumulation.

Burn Bright, Not Out, by Wendy Carey McCartney, provided practical advice and resources to empower individuals to take control of their financial futures and prioritise self care.

Sharing insights into the three stages of burnout, Wendy helped people to recognise the signs that someone may be suffering from burnout and explored management tools and resources and the recovery time for each stage.

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

The Symposium concluded with a focus on the importance of DEI initiatives, emphasising the need for proactive strategies to promote equality in the workplace. Intergenerational wealth transfer, demystifying artificial intelligence and combating imposter syndrome were among the key themes explored.

Attendees were encouraged to approach their careers with intentionality, setting clear goals, networking and building their personal brand.

The PIMFA Women’s Symposium served as a reminder that every individual has the power to make a difference and by uplifting and supporting one another, we can create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.