6 key questions about the new LGBT Great Financial Services Standards
Investment Week’s Editor-in-Chief, Katrina Lloyd, caught up with LGBT Great’s Founder and Global Managing Director, Matt Cameron to discuss six key questions about LGBT Great’s new FS Standards launching today, Tuesday 1st March 2022.
MATT, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT LGBT GREAT
LGBT Great is the LGBT+ community for the financial services industry and was launched in January 2019 with five founding members. Today, we have grown into a platform of over forty global organisations working together to improve LGBT+ sustainability globally.
Our vision is for the financial services industry to become the most trusted industry of choice for LGBT+ talent, clients, and investors, with every firm advocating visibly. We are striving to be leaders in creating positive cultural change and desire to partner with organisations who are committed to making a difference.
The key themes of our work are education, visibility, community, and data metrics. For the latter we have developed an industry specific benchmarking tool called the Inclusion Index Benchmarking Tracker (‘The iiBT’).
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE IIBT?
LGBT Great developed the iiBT in response to a consultation with leaders in the financial services industry. Through our consultation we identified a common theme: financial services organisations were lacking a framework to review and assess their approach to LGBT+ equality.
At the time, we discovered that there were several sector agnostic benchmarks adding some value, however, what became clear was that the financial services industry needed a more specialist and concentrated approach. Executive leaders were seeking specific industry insights to really drive positive cultural change. Together, we agreed that progress would only be possible by comparing apples with apples. This is where LGBT Great’s idea for the iiBT was born.
In 2018, we completed our research and development processes for the iiBT. Our vision for the iiBT was not to rank organisations against each other, but to inspire and motivate them to navigate their LGBT+ strategies with impact. Since its launch in 2019, the completion of the iiBT by our community members has been growing exponentially.
The iiBT has now grown into a framework which is recognised as a demonstrator of LGBT+ standards within our industry. Completion of the iiBT is regularly itemised in requests for proposals, as part of the due diligence processes prior to client, and, or asset allocation.
Our network of community members can assess their data scores and fully evidence organisational commitment towards LGBT+ issues. The iiBT is enhancing the business, reputation and talent of financial services organisations and positioning them for the future. With more people than ever before identifying as
LGBT+, and the rise of Generation Z, the most LGBT+ diverse generation ever, LGBT+ equality is now a critical business priority.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF COMPLETING THE IIBT?
The iiBT was developed by LGBT Great with the financial services industry for the industry. It is a step-by-step, evidence-based framework for LGBT+ diversity, equity, and inclusion within financial services and comprises of 10 different indicators which covers all elements needed to develop LGBT+ equality within financial services.
The process is designed to be a team-based effort within financial service organisations. LGBT Great works with each member to build a small working group and the indicators are broken down into easy bitesize parts. The indicators are both principal and evidenced based as LGBT Great recognises that different organisations require different approaches.
Whether big or small, we support and empower financial services organisations to develop the thinking and case studies needed to satisfy the criteria. Once a first submission is made our team reviews and analyses the results, then present back the insights to an organisation’s leadership team and network. The provides an opportunity for feedback, questions, and improvements. All participating organisations are given time to make amendments to help improve their iiBT score overall.
TELL US ABOUT THE NEW LGBT GREAT FS STANDARDS?
The new LGBT Great FS Standards are only awarded to financial services organisations who complete the Inclusion Index Benchmarking Tracker (iiBT). Gold, Silver, and Bronze standards are awarded to participating organisations who achieve the required standard of scores.
LGBT Great has decided to launch these new standards now to recognise the good works that our community members are doing and to inspire progress across the industry more broadly. From 2022, organisational submissions for the standards are due by 30th September and announced on the 1st March each year.
Financial services organisations who achieve a LGBT Great FS Standard are granted exclusive use of an LGBT Great standards badge. We then work to raise the profile of accredited organisations to role model best practices and leadership not just for Pride, but all year around. This is especially important to the LGBT+ community.
HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS ACHIEVE THE LGBT GREAT FINANCIAL SERVICES STANDARD?
Organisations that participate in the iiBT framework are required to clearly describe, evidence, and demonstrate the impact of their LGBT+ diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. We have designed the tool to enable firms all of sizes, big and small, to progress through the criteria. Organisations are required to demonstrate a high level of competency across the ten indicators:
- Leadership & Accountability – how is the organisation leveraging a clear LGBT+ plan and strategy?
- Policy & Planning – how is the organisation delivering parity with employee policies and benefits?
- People & Talent – how is the organisation approaching the collection and monitoring of diversity data?
- Recruitment & Attraction – how is the organisation targeting and attracting LGBT+ talent?
- Training & Development – what is the organisation doing to continually increase awareness?
- Procurement & Suppliers – how is the organisation engaging throughout its supply chain?
- Communications & Partnerships – how is the organisation speaking about LGBT+ issues and identities?
- Employees & Engagement – how is the organisation empowering the visibility of role models regularly?
- Culture & Belonging: how are the voices of LGBT+ people being heard and what action is being taken?
- Clients & Investors – how is the organisation approaching LGBT+ stewardship?
HOW DO ORGANISATIONS ACHIEVE THE PRESTIGIOUS GOLD STANDARD?
The Gold Standard is awarded only to organisations who achieve a score of 80% plus across all iiBT indicators. The marking criteria for each question is structured into three core requirements: description, impact, and evidence. Gold standard organisations provide detailed and robust responses to the questions and take on board feedback to continually improve.
Those organisations who achieve the Gold Standard, clearly define their diversity and inclusion strategies, objectives, and accountabilities. They have active executive sponsors who are members of the C-suite. They have a team of people (sometimes volunteers) working across the organisation. What makes these firms stand out is the quest for LGBT+ equality, is operated and governed, as a strategic business priority, and not as a ‘thing’ that is owned by HR.