Emily Walch

My name is Emily and I am the Corporate Affairs Director of the Investment Association (IA), the trade body that represents the UK investment management industry. I sit on the Executive Committee and in my role, I have overall responsibility for helping to protect, enhance and promote the reputation of the industry by overseeing the IA’s UK, EU and international advocacy, as well as all of our external and internal communications.

Whilst I am relatively new to asset management, I am not new to campaigning for greater diversity. I spent 4 years as a Special Adviser to Sir Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills during the Coalition Government (2010-2015). In this role, I introduced initiatives to increase gender and ethnic diversity on FTSE 100 boards. I also helped negotiate the Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation, as well as the legislation which allowed flexible working and shared parental leave. And of course the Coalition Government legalised same-sex marriage in 2013: seeing the rainbow flag rise over Downing Street on the day the law was passed was a very proud moment indeed.

My experiences working in liberal politics in particular has forever impressed on me the importance of standing up for marginalised communities. As a long-standing diversity campaigner and LGBT+ ally, I will do all I can in this role to drive positive change in the experiences of LGBT+ people in asset management.

This year ahead of Pride in London, I arranged for the IA’s logo to be changed to incorporate the rainbow flag. A number of new recruits across the organisation raised this positively in interviews at the time as it spoke to our values - proof even small changes can make a difference.

I also challenged my team to help spotlight the experiences of IA LGBT+ members at work. The result, ‘Bringing Our Whole Selves to Work’, charts the LGBT+ experience in asset management and suggests practical recommendations we can all do today to help make work more welcoming and inclusive for LGBT+ colleagues.

These cannot be one-offs however. Our team is already working on several other initiatives for the next 12 months. At the end of the day, having diversity of opinion in any business is not only good for the bottom line, it also helps all employees reach their full potential. Everyone’s a winner.