• Shireen Tyagi, Manager |
  • Alice Vaughan, Author |
2 min read

The growing importance of the ESG agenda for organisations and stakeholders has put a spotlight on diversity in the wealth and asset management sector.

To support gender diversity in sustainable investing, KPMG in the UK recently sponsored the Sustainable and ESG Investment Woman of the Year Award at the Women in Investment Awards 2021. The accolade recognised influential females who could demonstrate how they have championed sustainable & ESG investing at their own firm, across the wider industry and/or helped promote this area to investors. Against this backdrop, members of the KPMG Wealth and Asset Management team – Ruby Paramanathan, director, Shireen Tyagi, manager and Alice Vaughan, graduate – share their personal reflections on working in the sector and what inspires them to work in the sector.

Rethinking value and defining the agenda for tomorrow

The finance industry is rapidly evolving and is having a significant influence on the broader economy. Part of what inspires us is closely observing how the sector has an integral role to play in the global ESG agenda and having a seat at the table for important conversations. Our work lets us find new ways to do good and measure what it looks like.

The growing importance of ESG for board members, governments and regulators is making us rethink ‘value’ in financial services. Today, it goes beyond just financial returns; impact and purpose are playing a significant role. With increased scope of value, the returns businesses and individuals can receive are also greater than ever.

Navigating this change can offer opportunity. It can mean supporting clients with responsible investment mandates through microfinance and lending activities, or developing investment funds such as green bonds, blue bonds or women-focused funds.

Keeping diversity at the heart

We already know the tangible benefits of diversity in an organisation – better productivity, creativity and innovation, brand reputation, customer centricity – to name a few. A recent UK financial services regulators discussion paper, Diversity and inclusion in the financial sector – working together to drive change, makes a case for change with required measures for firms to make inclusion and diversity a priority. These will include incorporating diversity into policies, governance arrangements, accountability, remuneration arrangements and disclosures.

From our day-to-day work, we know how diverse perspectives help in better leadership, idea generation, decision making and problem solving. As we look to create new structures and institutions for ESG-focused investing, we believe there’s an opportunity to make diversity a building block instead of an add-on.

The industry will need to better represent the society it serves and support the design of services and products that improve consumer outcomes. We expect to see greater pressure from regulators and the public at large to have measurable impact on achieving these outcomes.

Are you curious to learn how C-level female executives overcame career challenges and found balance to rise to the top of their industry? Explore our Mind the Gap: Women in Financial Services Leadership series today.