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Brown Shipley wants to fix industry’s gender diversity problem

The transformation ‘will not happen overnight, but it is a challenge that we will not shy away from’


UK wealth manager Brown Shipley has launched an in-house network called Ignite, aimed at progressing women within the firm.

Ignite will involve a group of colleagues from the firm’s six offices, who will connect with and support each other, sharing ideas in pursuit of developing themselves and their careers.

There will be a programme of personal development opportunities including networking, inviting expert external speakers, mentoring and knowledge sharing.

The aim of the network is to give women the tools to progress to the top of the business and inspire the next generation of women to pursue a career in financial services.

It is run by a committee and sponsored by two members of the executive committee, head of human resources Deborah Shaw, and chief financial officer Alan Curran.

Solving the industry wide problem

Brown Shipley’s Shaw told International Adviser: “It’s no secret that the financial services industry has a problem with its lack of gender diversity, particularly higher up the ranks. Of course, the issue is not exclusive our industry.

“Having worked in a range of businesses – from marketing agencies to professional services – for over 25 years, I know that this is a UK and industry-wide problem. At Brown Shipley, we want to help change this

“We recognise that this transformation will not happen overnight, but it is a challenge that we will not shy away from.”

Modern flexible work environment

IA spoke to five senior women at Hansard Global in March about working in the financial services sector.

They said that the industry needs to promote its flexible nature of it, and this will attract more women to pursue a career in the wealth space.

Ignite is an initiative that is looking to promote that exact message.

“While everyone’s experience at work is unique and there are a range of factors that feed into someone’s career progress, the evidence suggests that it is more common for women to make career changes or take extended breaks as a result of having children,” said Shaw.

“Our approach to flexible working is supporting more women return to work, though we are pleased that our male colleagues are also taking the opportunity to work flexibly to help with caring responsibilities.”


Shaw added: “Ensuring you have a diverse workforce makes commercial sense. We must reflect the clients and communities we serve.

“As a business, therefore, we are focusing on ways to encourage our employees to have the confidence to progress in their careers, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socio-economic background.

“More than this, we want to create an inclusive business environment for our employees and indeed our clients.”

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