My name is Chris Cummings and I am the CEO of the Investment Association, the industry’s trade body. It’s my job to represent our industry to regulators, policymakers, in the media and to promote the industry at home and around the world. It’s a great job because ours is a fantastic industry: dynamic, innovative, and one that makes a real difference to the lives of savers and investors. But to be innovative and competitive over the long term, we also need to be a diverse industry – one that welcomes fresh thinking, new perspectives, and modern insights. If we are to meet that challenge, we need to foster difference and diversity.
I am personally sponsoring the Diversity & Inclusion programme at the IA because I want my organisation to help lead the way: so that we can support our members with their own programmes and make it clear to the industry’s current and future employees that ours are firms that will welcome them for who they are. Sometimes I hear from firms that they don’t have any LGBT+ members of staff. That may be true (but do they really know?), but the next person that walks through their doors, whether it’s a high-potential new recruit or a prospective major client, may be part of the LGBT+ community. Savers and investors expect LGBT+ people to be treated with the respect and support they deserve. That’s why we all need to take action and why we at the IA recently published a terrific guide to help firms better think through the practical steps they can take now.
I’ve learnt a lot by being involved in LGBT+ initiatives. I’ve been able to put the lessons into practice in the office but I’ve also been able to take those insights home and help family members as they have gone on their own journey. I wouldn’t have been able to help at home if I hadn’t been so involved at work. Let’s remember that everyone has their own stories and their own experiences and dealing with people as their “whole selves” doesn’t just mean during office hours. This is why I am proud to be an LGBT Great ally, and will work tirelessly to help make the Investment Association and the wider asset management sector a better, more inclusive space for LGBT+ people to work and thrive.