Plato Partnership at TradeTech 2018 – Women in trading (and the men who support them) think tank: How to capitalise on the diversity and inclusion opportunity.


Thursday, 26th April: 1055 – 1135



The industry is being challenged like never before to find, motivate and retain new trading and technology talent. In this climate, this panel of capital markets experts from firms including Baillie Gifford, Streets Consulting and TP ICAP explored how firms can gain a competitive advantage and embrace diversity by offering practical ideas.



Key Takeaways


  • Diversity is a critical discussion point for the industry. This debate should occupy the main stage, rather than a side room.


  • One of the key problems is middle management, the ‘sticky middle’. As they have primarily been hired by a certain demographic, they will continue to do so further down the line.


  • While there have been discussions about the gender pay gap, don’t forget the ethnic pay gap – ensure that your BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) staff are paid fairly.


Key Quotes



Opening Remarks



“We’re bombarded by data – but nobody marks the homework. I have yet to meet anyone who looks at targets for gender inclusion and checks whether they’ve been reached.”


“The language surrounding diversity initiatives is increasingly sounding like marketing rhetoric, and the numbers are not yet moving. We need to assess performance.”


“When I joined the industry, I was one of 3 women in a trading floor of 800 people. As this team grew to 1,300, so did the numbers of women – but only to 35. For me, this was something of a baptism of fire, and for women entering into this industry it will continue to be so too.”


“In 1986 there were 6 female traders on the floor of the LSE. While we’re now more meritocratic, people must feel welcome to come back to the industry after a period of absence (i.e. maternity leave) and must be supported in doing so.”



Why does diversity matter from an investment performance perspective?



“You need different perspectives at the top of firms. McKinsey did a brilliant report in 2015 looking at precisely this – while diversity doesn’t guarantee success, it generally increases performance across an organisation.”


“Hedge funds perform far better if they’re led by a woman.”



Acquiring talent



“There needs to be a re-education about talent. Historically (and up to the modern day), the hiring manager will be searching for a particular person to fill certain criteria – and their external recruiter would give them what they asked for. It would be worthwhile asking your recruiters to invite an equal number of male and female candidates, and BME candidates as well.”


“Do consider blind CVs.”


“The pipeline is a problem. Now I’m in a management position, it’s hard to attract talent from the bottom. They don’t want to work in our firms because our companies cannot compete with Facebooks, Googles etc. – this is partly because our companies are stale, pale and male.”



Flexible working


“This doesn’t just apply to those on your staff with children – but also surrounding care for the elderly. It is vital for firms to support their staff if they get a call from a school or a care establishment.”