The collaboration will promote and critically assess LGBT+ inclusion in the financial services sector through the distribution of exclusive research content and benchmarking objectives.
In tandem with the announcement, Portfolio Adviser’s sister title International Adviser talked to Matt Cameron, managing director of LGBT Great, about our shared mission for diversity and inclusivity in the industry.
What is LGBT Great?
It is an organisation working to develop all aspects of LGBT+ equality and inclusion within the workplace. It is also the first organisation to focus exclusively on the LGBT+ agenda specifically for the industry.
But how did it start?
“LGBT Great was an idea that I thought about a couple of years ago and, one of the main reasons for that, was because after nearly 10 years of working with the investment and savings industry, what I realised was that there was actually more LGBT+ talent in the industry then we thought,” Cameron told IA.
“There was a big lack of LGBT+ inclusion overall in comparison to any other sector.”
LGBT Great began working on the lack of visibility as a starting point by rolling out its “Project 1000” and #HereIAm campaigns.
“Project 1000 is a drive to find, identify and inspire 1,000 LGBT+ people within the industry to be visible.
“We launched that with The Diversity Project and have gained support from over 50 firms and found over 250 role models,” Cameron said.
“We then moved forward with a proposition for diversity and inclusion by providing useful education, research and insights through the development of the visibility campaign.
“With LGBT Great, we are trying to make people understand why LGBT+ inclusion matters but, more importantly, why it can benefit everybody.”
The organisation’s mission is to get the “LGBT+ agenda on the agenda of the leaderships”.
Because change comes from the top.
But that’s not all. The organisation came out with an industry-wide benchmarking tool to show companies where they are when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion and diversity.
“We created this bespoke tool called the ‘Investment Industry Benchmark Tracker’ and what we are aiming to do with that is help organisations understand exactly where their strengths are at the moment, in terms of LGBT+ inclusion, but also highlight the areas that do need focus and development.”
LGBT Great wanted to offer a personalised and quantifiable measure, because off-the-shelf solutions will not take the industry far, Cameron said.
That is why they went to firms “that had nothing [in terms of LGBT+ inclusion and diversity], but then came away totally inspired by the opportunity and some [companies] came on board supporting the project”.
The spotlight is on LGBT+
He told IA that there is no better time to take action than now.
“LGBT+ in our industry is still new, and what we’ve recognised is that there has been a lot of momentum around the gender agenda, increasing with the [UK] government pay gap reporting and other issues globally.
“We’ve started to see more around the black and ethnic minority groups and there’s really good momentum there. But on the LGBT+ side, there was really nothing; and what was out there wasn’t really understood or fit for purpose in terms of the actual investment industry.
“What we aspire to do with LGBT Great is talk to people who aren’t LGBT+, because they are the people we need to support to help the minority group.
“More importantly, we need to think about the future. And what has come out from our research is that LGBT+ inclusion is absolutely imperative for the younger generation. They are looking for organisations and employers where they can feel valued and where they can be authentic.
“The opportunity that we have got with Last Word is absolutely immense. Reach is absolutely critical and Last Word has been very prolific in terms of reaching to the sector that we represent; which means we have an opportunity to inspire even more people.”