Earlier this week, leading representatives from across the UK’s Fintech community today announced the launch of the Fintech For All Charter, an industry-led initiative to end harassment and promote diversity within the sector.
The effort is being led by InChorus and supported by Innovate Finance, the FinTech Alliance, and Level39, with the Financial Conduct Authority supporting the steering committee.
The Charter is a commitment to increase diversity and inclusion across the sector. Signatories will pledge to create a culture where inclusive behaviour is championed, harassment is not tolerated, and diversity is widely promoted in order to future-proof UK Fintech and enable sustainable growth.
The call for action follows a sector survey conducted by InChorus, which revealed high levels of workplace harassment in UK FinTech. Amongst the firms and employees surveyed, 85% of harassment-related incidents (with 500 incident types) were related to gender, and 84% of victims harassed more than once.
The survey uncovered that 78% of victims did not officially report the incident. Reasons for not reporting included the victim not being sure if the incident was serious enough to address (15%) or if action would be taken (12%). Some victims did not want to face any retaliation from reporting an incident (12%). Other reasons included the victim’s manager being involved in the incident (8%), the victim not wanting to do so (6%), or the individual feared not being believed (3%) .The outcome highlighted that two-thirds (63%) of participants wanted their organisations to implement training to prevent harassment, whilst over half (51%) thought that a set of employment standards for FinTech would help effectively tackle workplace harassment.
Initial signatories of the Charter include some of the leading names in the sector, including Fintechs – Currencycloud, Checkout.com, Delio Wealth, Applied Blockchain, Erlang Solution, Plentitude Landbay Direct ID, and Funding Xchange. With Investors – Augmentum VC, Outward VC and Anthemis signing up alongside the Consultancy PwC, and Industry Bodies FinTech Circle and UKBAA.
Each signatory has committed to the following:
- Ensuring at least one member of the senior executive team is accountable for Diversity & Inclusion
- Creating and promoting an effective Harassment and Bullying policy – Developing employee awareness around what constitutes harassment and encouraging inclusive practices
- Providing a range of appropriate reporting channels so employees can speak up safely
- Ensuring that action is taken as per the Harassment and Bullying policy
Signatories will be provided with guidance, resources, networks, and workshops to enable them to take tangible steps towards becoming more inclusive and having a more diverse workplace culture.
The founding partners recognise that FinTech firms will be at very different stages of their growth journey, so each organisation should set a strategy that is right for them.
The UK FinTech ecosystem leads the world in offering exciting opportunities for business, investment and talent. In recent years, instances of harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement have surfaced, along with negative reports of the stark gender pay gap, inherited from the Financial Services sector. The call for an inclusive industry is becoming even stronger, with the FCA mandating for a focus on non-financial misconduct and encouraging speak-up cultures.
This Charter has been designed to progress the conversation and change culture for the better across the sector, and we invite all UK FinTechs to join the fight to end harassment and encourage greater inclusion.
Raj Ramanandi, Co-CEO, InChorus, commented: “InChorus are proud to spearhead the FinTech For All movement. At the start of the year, we surveyed an array of employees working within the Fintech sector, to better understand the challenges around harassment and exclusion employees within our industry are facing.
“As a result of the insights we uncovered, we believe the launch of the FinTech For All Charter is the much-needed driving force to foster a far more inclusive and diverse sector moving forwards. We hope that FinTech companies across the UK consider joining us on our journey to change Fintech for the better, creating a safe and happy environment to futureproof our innovative and growing sector.”
Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance, commented: “Fintech is the crown jewel of UK tech and we need to ensure that diversity and inclusion are an integral part of the sector’s culture from the start. We are delighted to support the FinTech For All Charter and would encourage all FinTech organisations to sign up in order to create an environment which normalises inclusion and eradicates harassment.
“It is positive to see the wide array of signatories participating to date, and it’s important they take the pledge they have made seriously, and put all the suggested steps into practice in order to catalyse the much-needed change our sector needs to sustain long-term growth”.
Olivia Broderick, General Counsel and Head of Regulatory, Checkout.com commented: “At Checkout.com we celebrate our differences and believe that inclusion fundamentally drives business success and enables us to redefine the banking that businesses deserve. We are proud to act as a founding signatory for the charter, which outlines tangible steps fintechs of all sizes can action immediately to make their companies more inclusive. The charter intrinsically aligns with our broader D&I strategy and our founding value ‘Unite’, which is the belief that we are greater together. We look forward to working with InChorus, Innovate Finance and the FCA on this charter.”
Briana van Strijp, Partner & COO of Anthemis, commented: “Anthemis believes that diversity isn’t just a moral imperative, but an economic and social one. We know that diverse teams who embrace inclusion are more innovative; more creative; drive better financial performance, and design more inclusive products.
“The Fintech community has a leading role to play in creating workplace cultures free from gender-related harassment, to educate, and to take a stance against silencing and side-lining. With outsized capacity for impact, Leaders who nurture inclusive organisations will realise the full participation – and full potential – of every group.”