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Series Twelve, Episode One Building Better Boards: Finding your place in the boardroom


In this episode host Julia Streets is joined by Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO of CFA Institute. and Fiona Hathorn, board advisor and Founder and CEO of Women on Boards UK. They discuss the importance of reporting, transparency and accountability of boards and how to help diverse talent find its route to the boardroom. They consider why diverse boards and executive team representation add a competitive commercial advantage and ultimately drive economic prosperity. Together they endorse gender diversity – known as the universal diversity – setting out and welcoming the key principles of the new DEI Code from the CFA Institute. As the ’Social’ and ‘Governance’ in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies gain prominence, they recognise and support their drive towards removing the hurdles and legacy excuses for homogeneity. 

Margaret Franklin

Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO of CFA Institute. Marg Franklin leads CFA Institute and its more than 165,000 members worldwide in promoting the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession. Franklin has built her career over the course of more than 25 years in the investment and wealth management industries. Franklin has diverse experience in both institutional and private wealth. She most recently led BNY Mellon’s International Wealth Management and was the president for BNY Mellon Wealth Management Wealth Advisory, Canada. She is a founding member of the CFA Institute Women in Investment Initiative, is a CFA charterholder, and a member of CFA Society Toronto.

Fiona Hathorn

Fiona Hathorn is the Founder and CEO of Women on Boards UK alongside advising a number of different boards and organisations. Currently she is an Advisory Panel Member for the FRC (Financial Reporting Council), an Advisory Board Member to Spktral (a technology company that helps organisations simplify the gender pay gap reporting process), advisor to Peel Hunt (mid-cap stockbroker) and Chair of Hanx's Nominations Committee (FMCG start-up). She is an expert in the areas of Governance, Regulation and Talent Management who has sat on both marketing and audit & finance committees. Fiona is also a Patron of Fight for Sight (a medical research charity) and was formerly a director for Hill Samuel Asset Management. She has advised the board of the Thai Euro Fund and is a Judge for the Non Executive Director Awards, sponsored by The Sunday Times. In 2020 Fiona joined King's College London's 'Global Institute for Women's Leadership' Advisory Board.

Series Twelve, Episode One Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets and welcome to DiverCity Podcast, talking about equality, inclusion, and diversity in financial services. On the podcast, we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus and offer lots of ideas to help drive change.

But before we get started today, I just wanted to take a moment to thank our friends at City A.M. for their continued support of DiverCity Podcast, publishing and promoting both our episodes and supporting our blog series so their readers can stay on top of the very latest diversity and inclusion debate. You may want to check out City A.M.’s own podcast called The City View for all the latest news and opinion from the city, because we at DiverCity Podcast are huge fans.

Today I’m delighted to be joined by Fiona Hathorn and Margaret Franklin. Let me tell you a bit about each guest. Fiona Hathorn is the Founder and CEO of Women On Boards UK and advises a number of different boards and organisations. She holds a number of advisory board positions, including the Financial Reporting Council, Spktral, a technology company that helps organisations simplify the gender pay gap reporting progress, and the stockbroker, Peel Hunt.

She is an expert in the areas of governance, regulation and talent management, and is a judge for the Non-Executive Director Awards sponsored by The Sunday Times. In 2020 Fiona joined King’s College London’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership Advisory Board. It’s a great pleasure to have on the show. Fiona, welcome. Thanks for being with us.

Fiona: Delighted to be here for you and looking forward to this podcast. Thank you.

Julia: I can’t wait because you’re keeping the most stellar company because today we’re joined by our second guest, Margaret, or Marg, Franklin. Marg Franklin is the President and the CEO of the CFA Institute, leading it and it’s 165,000 plus members worldwide in promoting the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession. Of her career of more than 25 years in standing, she’s worked in investment and wealth management industries, most recently serving as president of BNY Mellon’s wealth management wealth advisory business in Canada. And she is a founding member of the CFA Institute’s Women in Investment initiative. Marg, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you on.

Marg: Really wonderful to be here, Julia and Fiona, nice to be on with you as well.

Julia: Well, I have a feeling this is going to be a cracking conversation. I hope all the listeners are tuned in on the edge of their seats. As we get straight into the conversation, regular listeners will know that this is a moment where I ask each of you what you’re particularly focused on right now. Fiona, can I come to you, first of all? What are you particularly focused on?

Fiona: Well, I’m focused on the boardroom and I always have been and that’s because the boardroom matters. A lot of people don’t have exposure to the boardroom until quite a lot later on in their executive life and I think that’s a shame. So my job is to plant seeds, provide information about the boardroom because there are charity boards, there’s university boards, there’s sports boards, there’s clubs boards, and there’s actually a board position out there for everyone, no matter what age. Clearly you need to understand your responsibilities and your liabilities and the risks of being on the board, but our society matters and we need the right people and we need diverse boards to make great decisions to power our economies globally.

Julia: Fiona, I know you talk a lot in the press about this and you’re called upon for your expert commentary as well. I can’t wait to get into the conversation about how people really find their place on boards as early as possible. We’re going to get into that for sure.  Marg, can I ask you the same question? What are you particularly focused on right now?

Marg: We’re really focused on advancing quite quickly what has been a challenge and conundrum in the investment management industry, which is diversity broadly, very specifically though, we still haven’t been able to crack the gender diversity issue and it’s a universal diversity issue, no matter which country you’re in, no matter what part of the investment management industry you’re at. It’s probably never been more important, as we think about the challenges in generating returns, providing security for people’s financial futures. When we think about this momentous time on Build Back Better infrastructure, capital allocation that’ll have long lasting societal impacts, the investment management industry is really at the heart of that because we do a lot of the capital allocation. We are the people who actually built those portfolios and of course, all of those investments require capital.

So at a moment when you need diverse perspectives, when you need the impact of building strong resilient teams that start with diversity, we are still a long ways to go. The CFA Institute is squarely focused on this, really for immediately and for the coming years ahead.

Julia: Well, let’s get into that because I know there’s one particular initiative that you’re working on at the moment is called the DIE Code. So, talk a little bit about the key principles, its objectives, its scope of work as well, keen to hear more.

Marg: The DEI Code really, I think, comes out of a series of initiatives that we’ve done starting with our experimental partners, which was 40 of the leading firms in North America who were committed to trying out one, two or three of initiatives that we had identified in 20 D&I activities that you could take as a firm. We’ve been reporting on that, our report comes out this month, which I think people will be keen to read on. The DEI code was really designed then to take a stand and leadership position on D, E and I, and it comes from not only the firms and representatives, leaders in D, E and I, but also investment professionals. So it was built from the profession up.

It has six principles, which are really about your pipeline, talent development, promotion and retention. So, the basics of what needs to happen for you to actually have diversity and inclusion in your firm and then really to what supports it going forward and that’s leadership, influence, and of course, critically important in our business is measurement.

The objective is really not only to have the principles out there, but for the signatories to show the leadership support and commitment to it. As we all know, that leadership is critically important. So it’s part of an integrated system that we have, that I think really is demonstrable evidence of what leading firms are doing to really advance diversity, equity and inclusion really broadly.

Julia: Of course, the reporting’s a really key part of that. Fiona, can I bring you in here as well? Because I know you’ve been working with the FTSE All-Share and I’ve mentioned in the introductory remarks about the Financial Reporting Council, and there’s been a lot of focus there on the need for better reporting, if you like. Very keen to hear about your work and also where would you advise listeners’ firms to really focus?

Fiona: Well, just coming to the report, the report is called ‘The Hidden Truth’ because what you find globally is most companies have only looked at their top 100 companies and in the UK, our government and regulators concentrate on the FTSE 100, our top 100 companies, or the FTSE 250, which combined make up the FTSE 350 and we’ve set themselves a challenge and a target to get to 33% and whoop-dee-flipping-dee, we did it because actually we might co-manage 350 companies, which Julia and I, with a bit of effort, with Marg involved, we could have done that ourselves.

It was challenging and it was tough. But what we haven’t looked at is the FTSE All-Share. Now the FTSE All-Share is about 600 companies, including that FTSE 350. Now there were thousands more companies listed on exchanges, these are the big liquid companies that index funds look at. We looked at 260 of them, 250 off them outside the FTSE 350, making up that 600. And what we found was quite shocking because nobody’s been measuring and managing these companies. I’m going to come back to the asset management industry, which you were talking to Marg about earlier and we found that less than half had met the 33% target. So if you take the average, actually it’s 31% women in terms of boards, looking at all of them, but only half of them have achieved it because some have got 60% women on boards.

And I think what was more shocking is we also looked at the executive teams below and our government has been looking at that for the FTSE 350 and currently the FTSE 350, 29% of the executive teams, that top management layer, are women. In the FTSE All-Share it’s only18%, which is very, very poor. But lots of the FTSE All-Share companies are listed investment trusts. These are fund management portfolio pots.

When we looked at who was managing the money, who were the two fund managers managing the Japanese assets, or the Asian assets, or the bond fund. We found that 66% of them were all male. Now we were chatting earlier before we started this podcast, I joined the City of London as a Fund Manager. I used to be head of global equities and there were more women then in the 1980s and the 1990s than there are now.

I think the lens that the CFA are putting onto this industry, we need more companies and we need more investors to step up. I’m happy to talk about that and I’m happy to shine a light on what some of the good companies are doing with regards to leadership support to make good leaders and make them consciously inclusive, not talking about unconscious bias training, you and I have got unconscious bias, we’ve all got it. How do you lead effectively? Because diverse teams, we know perform better, but if you cannot manage them, you will go backwards. And maybe Marg can pick up on the asset management industry, but there’s not much turnover within the fund management, those front office desks, and therefore it can be hard. People think if you haven’t managed the money before you can’t manage it now, but yes, our lens, the hidden truth, really puts a spotlight and we’ve got a number of recommendations in that, which I’ll come to later.

Julia: That’s why it’s really encouraging when we listen to Marg talk about the code. That leadership is a really key part of that as well. And within that, you’ve also created Marg, a reporting framework to support the code as well. Listening to Fiona’s remarks, there, are there any other specific areas where you would advise listeners to truly focus? And particularly I’m thinking about your international membership and also as an organisation globally?

Marg: I think just to pick up on Fiona’s comments, there are really three things. First of all, the data tells a story, and so when we look at the number of women that are CFA charter holders, and let’s use that as a proxy for participation, it has been stubbornly at 20%, plus or minus a percent or two, since I got my charter in 1997.

That’s pathetic actually and that tells a story about what are the barriers. Fiona, you hit really neatly on the importance of tone from the top and it starts from the board. When it becomes a board priority and they put metrics to it and compensation and incentives are centred around that, guess what? Everybody pays attention. People respond to incentives, the rest is merely commentary as Steve Landsburg famously said.

Then we start to say, what are those incentive structures? What are the disincentives for it? When you think about diversity and inclusion, let’s just deal with those two. Equity as part of it, those are really the building blocks. The first is getting your pipeline in place and we’ve seen tremendous traction on that. In our pipeline of candidates, we can see it’s about 40% women.

That’s good progress and I’ll talk a moment about why that is, but you have this turnover and we have been very fearful that a good economic downturn, the markets turn south, that you’ll go back to what it was before. And why is that? Because as you progress along, the requirements for leadership and jobs have more than just technical competence skills, they require trust and judgement. Who do you trust and whose judgement do you value? Generally, somebody who looks and feels and sounds like you.

We have to really go at what are the exclusionary habits, processes, and systems that exclude others from advancing? Because the higher you go in the decision-making framework, of course, the more necessary diverse voices and experience and perspectives and backgrounds become. I think what we’ve seen is when we began the Women in Investment Management initiative at CFA Institute now seven years ago, we had to provide the data to show that actually diverse teams were a benefit on risk return and ultimately impact your organisation.

Now, we don’t see that at all. We see organisations clamouring for how to do it. Our focus and I think one for the investment industry is not just on the metrics coming in on the pipeline, but what are the systems for inclusion? And that requires a fundamentally different style of leadership. The good news is, is there’s tons of research, tons of tremendously accessible work that can help leaders become better in small and big ways, and they all add up to a profound change to the system. Again, I refer back to our experimental partner’s report because it really talks about practitioners, organisations, having put in time, effort to not only implement these strategies, but then to measure them. There are certain things that simply you think would work, but don’t. One is implicit bias training. It simply doesn’t work as an isolated activity and the data shows that. So we need that acceleration of the actual initiatives and activities and habits and practises in firms that will make that material change.

Anecdotally, what we saw with the pandemic was firms that already had embraced diversity and inclusion and were practising it, were much more resilient and much more capable of pivoting, capitalising on that diversity. And so when we think about return to work, which is happening right now, that’s future of work, which is a fundamental tectonic shift in the way that we’re going to attract, retain and create an environment to capitalise on our talent, that is going to require diversity. Those firms that actually have it in place, ultimately, I think are better equipped to do that. So that’s the competitive advantage and the competitive inspiration for people to really take it seriously.

Julia: We talk a lot about the competitive advantage but I love the whole competitive inspiration, which is really important. There is also, there’s an ambition of growth. We’re talking about having navigated a very, very tough climate. That is going to be interesting, we’re going to come back to that towards the end of the show, but also a lot of these organisations have a true appetite for international expansion and international growth. Fiona, what advice do you give those boards when they’re thinking about extending best practise, not only within their own territories, but also into others?

Fiona: Well, I can talk about that briefly. I want to come back onto something you’ve just been talking about there, but just to answer your question specifically on international companies, I find it fascinating when you’re working with a company that has say, a maternity policy, or returners policy, or paternity policy where men get the opportunity to support their families as well. In one country, they have one rule and in another country they have a different rule. I think you really do need to look at it holistically in terms of how you are giving your leaders the right tools to understand how to be good chairs, how to be consciously inclusive, because let’s assume the C-suite now gets it, the Chief Exec and the executive team. But we were talking about the fund management industry, does the Fund Manager get it? Unconscious bias training? We know it doesn’t work, but do they realise that it is not just about their executive teams talking about being woke, doing the right thing, supporting minorities, your shareholders are now asking questions. Your investors are now asking questions, the regulator is now asking questions. I think that’s what’s making the executive teams really step up.

Because I’m involved with King’s, the Global Institute for Women, they’ve done some research on what doesn’t work and that’s really, really fascinating. One of the things is minority networks. Minority networks do work in a sense they’re a safe place to go, but just setting up a minority network and leaving it and hope you fixed all the problems is deluded because it’s much more complex than that. I think what’s really, really important is making sure all employees have the belief that they can get to the top. They feel empowered and that’s why when we work with corporates and we work with a lot of asset managers, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, Fidelity, they’ve stopped trying to fix the minority. They have recognised it’s not the minority that needs fixing. What they’re making sure is those minorities get the information and support they need, knowledge of promotions, knowledge of opportunities, knowledge of the subsidiary boards.

You take any one of those big American companies or big UK companies and say, “How many subsidiary boards do they have in the UK? Let alone Europe, let alone the globe? What’s the committee structure that’s underneath that? What do they do? Who’s on them and why? And how do you report into it?” And all of that, when we’re talking about actively owning and managing your career, it’s like planting seeds because what do you mean you don’t know?

Now, if you’ve been in an environment as a child, you’ve been to certain schools, also sport plays a part in this. And that would be a fascinating conversation about sport and entertainment. When I was in the City many, many years ago, you might have rubbed shoulders with somebody on an NHS board, a university board, a bank board, an asset management board, but a minority doesn’t mean to say they’re not very good, might not have had the same exposure. And that’s the knowledge giving. Now, what we say is let’s ensure that the knowledge and the inspiration is there within the companies, but what you really also need to do and we don’t do so much of this, is to fix your leaders because chairing a meeting effectively is interesting. And of course the whole COVID environment of how you manage money, because we were talking about managing money, is really important. The companies globally, they’re making sure that they don’t have what’s going on in London, is the same thing that’s going on in Toronto, is the same thing that’s going on in Tokyo, so that everyone’s being empowered in the same way.

And increasingly, I found with a couple of asset managers, we run a network called Women On Boards, where we advertise board vacancies for free, but we go into companies to talk about the boardroom and how to actually manage your career. 50% of the workshops we do now are mixed gender and I think that’s fantastic. In the asset management community themselves, they come to us almost wanting to hold us and saying, “Thank you. We want to know about the boardroom. We want to manage our career.” And there’s a degree that’s happened in the last five years where people are saying, “It’s only the minorities that get the information. It’s only the minorities that can get on.” The data doesn’t bear that out but they believe it, so it’s great to see companies taking a holistic view and bringing everyone involved, including men.

Julia: It is fascinating, because I’m listening to you talk there, when we talk about leadership, when we talk about the comparatives for change, we talk about the inspiration of change, we talk about the realities of change and also the education and the awareness about finding those opportunities ahead, alongside that there’s this huge dynamic that’s taking place globally, which is the environmental, social and governance discussion. And more and more on the podcast when we’re interviewing people and also out in the industry as well, people are talking about diversity, quality, inclusion, all sits under very much the S, some would even argue the G, of ESG as well. And that in turn should just give it more commercial credence and weight behind the imperative for change as well. Marg, is this your experience, or do we have some way to go before we reach that reality?

Marg: I think we have a ways to go, but at everyone’s peril not to get on it and accelerate their initiatives. I think a lot about the buyer’s club, which is the asset owners, pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, those big pools of capital that Fiona alluded to, that have the clout and ability to ask for ESG because their beneficiaries, their clients are demanding it, because governments are demanding it, society at large is saying you’ve got to do a better job, and you’re not absolved from the impact of your decision-making more broadly on society, the environment, social structures, governance.

When we think about that, that from an investment perspective, an investment construction perspective, really demands that we think about diversity of those teams, new skills, because we don’t have a lot of data in this, it’s a nascent area. Really with the change of the administration in the US, watch that market accelerate quickly. Britain has been a real leader in this, but now you’re seeing global momentum. After COP26 coming up, after Davos a year and a half ago, you can see that it accelerated at a moment just when we thought it might die under the pandemic, or be pushed aside and it hasn’t. So the skills required for that are going to have to accelerate, and they will look at how your teams are constructed and how you as an organisation are running.

There’s lots of materials, lots of ways that organisations can get up to speed and integrate these. We have our ESG certificate, we have our ESG standards. These are things that apply to investment principles, but also can apply to organisational principles when you start to think about it. I think it’s exciting, dynamic, societally impactful, and we should be able to attract really, really good diverse talent given the purpose of this, because we know that in particular, millennials and Gen Z want purpose as much as they want compensation.

Julia: What I love about all of that is when you think about the compelling push from below if you like, as you say, with the new generations coming through saying, “This is really important,” but plus the high level pool around COP26, and just really funny, because only a couple of days ago, I was thinking Davos is going to be really interesting to watch and I wonder how that debate has shifted as well, fascinating times, for sure. Fiona, when you think about other compelling reasons, the pull, if you like, of why things are changing and compelling reasons for change as well, love to hear your thoughts on that.

Fiona: Well, I think if you think about what boards do, they only do two things, performance, strategy and star-gazing and getting that right, and the other one is conformance, which is abiding by the law, filing your accounts. And ESG is part of governance and conformance. But of course, as a director, you’re there to protect the long-term survivability of the organisation. One of the issues, the fund management, the asset management industry, has been quarterly reporting if you’re listed and fund managers taking short term views, and when you bring the E into it, you’ve really got to balance the long term and you don’t get the results straight away.

I think what’s hard is there are very few E experts in the boardroom and in terms of data and standards, how do you evaluate one company with regard to where they’re lending if it’s a bank? There’s so many rating agencies, companies a little bit confused at the moment. I mean, Legal & General, L&G, have led that because they’ve been index funds. I think you’re now getting the active managers really beginning to get involved, but nobody’s got it quite right, but it’s really important. Marg mentioned a younger generation and if I look at how my sons who are in their 20s, who’ve got small, little, ISA pots, which is a tax efficient incentive scheme in the UK to invest, in their case they care about what the investment trusts says, what the fund manager says with regard to the environment. Whereas the traditional wealth managers, they’re managing money for the older population I’m told that in general, that population is not asking those questions. So again, if you want to have the right money to manage over time, your portfolio of investors is going to change and you have to be on it in every aspect, very exciting time for the fund management industry.

Julia: Feels like it, doesn’t it? Really, really does feel it, and we haven’t even touched on the role of advisors either. We don’t have time, that’s not the purpose of this podcast either. I suppose one question I have, which is that we do hear many stories about, at the boardroom level, we’ll bring on one woman and then we’re one and done. I’ve even heard worse expressions about we’ve got a handbag at the table and that’s all we need, horrific stories around that. And sustainable change does take some commitment as well. I would love to hear your thoughts and we’ll do this relatively quickly, if you would, around what advice do you give about keeping the foot on the pedal for sustainable change and order to reap the rewards that we’ve talked about here as well? Marg, can I come to you first?

Marg: I think there are a couple things that boards can do and things about. First of all, they do have to keep their pedal on the metal. And the reason is, as we’ve seen with social media, when you make declarative statements, when you say you’re going to commit to these things, society, your clients, your investors, they will look and follow up to see whether you’re doing it. So, that’s the first thing. The second thing is you don’t want to be out of sync on things that are materially important and becoming even more important and more verifiable with investors, stakeholders, your clients.

Then finally, I think we have to get more creative about where we’re going to find people that fulfil that role. Oftentimes I think about a board, there’s the technical capabilities and responsibilities, but there’s also the chemistry, how a board operates together matters. Same with leadership teams, same with all kinds of teams.

So, one thing that I’ll put out there for your listeners is that we find that if you have somebody who’s successfully integrated and a leader in this sort of space for you, go and ask them, “We like what you’re doing. Where are more like you? How do we find more like you?” And you’d be amazed how many people, Fiona, you probably see this, I’m going to bet you use this playbook, that you go to your most successful people that you’ve placed and you say, “How do I find more of you?” And by the way, they’ll have 20 of them lined up that don’t make it to the standard lists.

You have to get more creative and you have to get more ambitious and you have to be more committed. The payoffs, they are big, and the world is changing quickly and you can’t afford to fall back on this.

Julia: Wonderful. Well, Fiona, would you agree with that? I mean, is that what you see and what you hear as well? What other sustainable tips would you give?

Fiona: My main sustainable tip is if you look at the Fortune 500, our biggest companies in the world, those people who get to the top as executives or into the boardroom have usually been on a board before the age of 28. They are floating at the top of a company. You talked about one and done, if you look at female chief executives, in general, the number globally is between 5% and 7%. It hovers around and it hasn’t moved the last 10 years. When people have a female chief executive, or even one senior executive on the board, or as executive team, people say, “Oh, well, it’s obvious that our culture’s okay because she got through.” But in general, those individuals are different. They’ve had different backgrounds, different experiences, they’ve got a different sense of self, and that’s what the boardroom can give you.

My mantra to everyone is to get people exposed with knowledge to the boardroom, even if it’s a charity board, because it increases your chance to get to the top. And whether it’s in the asset management industry, the tech industry, the financial services industry, the retail industry, we need more diversity and it’s not just about women, it’s people of colour, it’s disability, it’s LGBT, it’s the whole lot, because it’s never been about women. It’s about performance and that’s where we need to focus.

Julia: Well, I think that’s a great moment to bring in Cynthia Akinsanya for some research to support today’s study.

Cynthia: In the 2020 women in financial services report from Oliver Wyman, the top three countries with the highest representation of women on executive committees in major financial services from 2016 to 2019 were Israel, with a 38% and 11 point increase of female representation, Australia with a 34% and 10 point increase in female representation, and Sweden with a 33% and three point increase in female representation. At the lower end of the scale, we have Japan with a 5% and three point increase of female representation, South Korea with a 4% and 0% increase of female representation and Saudi Arabia with a 4% and zero point increase in female representation.

When it comes to placing young people in the C-suite, mostly there’s a waiting for millennials to grow up. It is typically one of the reasons given in the 2018 article, Why 20% Of Your Leadership Team Should Be Millennial by millennial expert, Gabrielle Bosche. However, millennials are as old as 38 years old and are well beyond just taking selfies and working as interns. Millennials will be the largest part of our workforce and the majority of the consumer market as well. Smart companies are bringing them up sooner than ever.

The article cites that one of the most surprising reasons that millennials don’t pursue leadership positions at their current employer is that they don’t see people who look like them at the top. Smart executives are intentionally identifying high-performing millennials to the team and not just the time served at the company. Executive teams should be made up of people of all ages, committed to the mission and inspired to further the success of the company.

Julia: Thank you, Cynthia, for that research, which is always incredibly important. So let’s take a moment to remind everybody how to find DiverCity Podcast. All the research can be found on our website, And don’t forget that DiverCity with a C, not with an S, and that’s where you can find all our episodes and sign up for early notifications of future recordings. Do follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and DiverCity Podcast is available on BrightTALK and all good podcast channels. And of course we thank our friends at City A.M. because you can find our episodes there. If you have a moment, we’d love a rating because it all helps to promote the show.

I was listening to both of you talk and thank you for all your thoughts and all your insights, which are incredibly valuable. When we think about the inspiration that this offers an industry that is going through these compelling reasons for change as well, I’d love to get your thoughts about when you look at the industry as a whole, what particularly inspires you right now and where you see great moments of optimism?

Marg: Well, I think about our conversation that we’ve just had, it’s really integrated. It looks at the system as a whole. I think Fiona’s, and my, and your conversation has been very complementary. How do these things all come together? We can see through the value chain. That’s really inspiring, not just talking about one component, there’s definitely an energy around it, and it’s definitely high on everybody’s radar. Now it’s, how do we translate that meaningfully, quickly and sustainably into the systems? I think what I’ve been inspired by today’s conversation is just that we’re talking about the data, Fiona and I are talking about the same thing, but passing the ball back and forth because we’re in different aspects. That diversity of perspective is actually contributory to making the system better.

Julia: And of course, the two of you alone, listening to you speak is incredibly inspiring for the younger generation coming through as well, and looking up in the organisations and just thinking there are people at the top of the game who are really thinking about this. Fiona, can I ask you well, I mean, I made a comment earlier about your love of reporting and insight, and also policies as well. What do you find particularly inspiring right now?

Fiona: I’m inspired by some of our new corporate members and that might sound a bit odd, but one of them is Oxford University. We spoke to lots of universities and said, “Oh, we’re interested in the boardroom,” but of course, Oxford University and many of them are having spin-outs, startup, spin-out companies, AstraZeneca. It wasn’t called AstraZeneca, but the jab there came out of a spin out of Oxford University and they’re empowering their lecturers to be better on boards. But also the Said Business School have got us in to talk to their MBAs. So they’re doing a master’s in business and of course the boardroom matters, but interestingly enough, it’s not often well covered in those MBAs and inspiring people to go on boards because boards are about common sense. So, that’s what inspires me, is more people are recognising that information matters and they’re given that information earlier on in their life. If we can do that in the fund management industry with the CFA’s help and the data that they’re bringing out is fantastic because data matters. What gets measured, gets managed and what gets managed gets done.

Julia: Well, let me just ask you a very final question as we go out of this incredible discussion, actually. I ask all our guests this question, which is, I’m quite deeply concerned that right now, we’re going through some tough economic times. We’ve talked earlier about patterns of behaviour, particularly when you’re going through tough economic times, about who do you trust. They may well be the same old type of people. Not saying they’re all old, but you take my point. I’d love to hear your compelling reasons for why this must remain high on the diversity and inclusion agenda right now, when I’m on the corporate board agenda as well. Fiona, can I come to you first of all? Would love to hear your compelling reasons.

Fiona: It’s about economic growth and economic growth is fuelled by our companies. It’s fuelled by the investment decisions they make, and if you want to make good investment decisions, you need to have the information in terms of diversity of thought to get the right products, to the right people to empower. If you empower people, the economy grows and people in general feel better, and that’s the society that I want to live in.

Julia: Wonderful. What a great way to see us out there. Marg, it’s a similar question to you as well, the CFA Institute.

Marg: I think pick up where Fiona passed the ball, the growth mindset is really, I think the competitive, compelling argument. Your clients are demanding it, society’s demanding it and actually it’s innovative new work. The ability to attract talent and create new cultures within your organisations is really exciting work. It’s hard work and I will say, I think the stick of it is that at your peril without those, your stakeholders, your clients, your employees, we are all looking to see how you operate your organisation. We now have better transparency into it and the investment management industry is critically important. It is not isolated from society or societal impact. So, we are very committed to using our platform, our research capabilities, and our network to actually make it a much stronger, more resilient and more inclusive and diverse system.

Julia: Marg Franklin, president and CEO of the CFA Institute, thank you so much for all your time, it’s been great to have you on the show.

Marg: Thank you very much. It’s been a real pleasure to be with you today, and Fiona.

Julia: Fiona Hathorn, who is the founder and the CEO of Women In Boards, UK. Fiona, thank you. Thank you for being with us today.

Fiona: Thank you Julia, and I hope to have a glass of wine in the City of London sometime with you soon, and Marg, if you come to London or I come to the States, we’ll be looking at each other up.

Marg: Perfect.

Julia: Wonderful. And to all our listeners, thank you as always for listening, I’ve been Julia Streets. Tune in again for another episode, very soon.

Kieran: This episode of DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieran Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. Thanks to Cynthia Akinsanya for her insights. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, and that’s DiverCity with a C, not an S. Whilst you’re there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates. All our episodes are available in apple podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app. If you enjoy DiverCity Podcast, remember to share on social media and give us a rating or review, it really helps promote the show to a wider audience. Finally, our Twitter handle is @divercitypod, thanks for listening.