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Backstage with Keith Richards

6th September 2016


Yesterday I attended the launch of a campaign to unite the insurance profession behind gender parity in work and in society more broadly.

The HeForShe campaign was launched by Emma Watson as Ambassador for UN Women. It is about making simple short personal pledges, which inspire others to join the conversation and show support for gender parity.

Insurance became the first profession to join the global initiative, with senior executives across the sector following in the footsteps of world leaders such as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to publicly commit to make gender equality a reality.

Held at Lloyds of London's old library, the launch was chaired by Sian Fisher, CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), who was joined by Lloyd's CEO Inga Beale, Aon UK CEO Dominic Christian and Swiss Re head of life & health reinsurance products Russell Higginbotham in sharing their own personal pledges and explaining what HeForShe means to them personally. They were joined by guest speaker, UN Women National Committee UK chair Laura Haynes.

The HeForShe campaign forms part of Insuring Women's Futures, a programme led by the Chartered Insurance Institute which seeks to ensure that the insurance profession responds equally to both men and women in society, both as consumers and as employees.

As part of the CII, the Personal Finance Society is committed to gender parity, and believes the advice profession has an important role to play in promoting diversity and equality across peers, employees and clients of the sector.

The advice sector has traditionally been a conservative, male-dominated profession. Women comprise approximately a quarter of the PFS's current membership and based on our recent consumer research, women are 10% more likely than men to admit that their 'knowledge of financial services is less than it should be'. 

As a professional body, we have a duty to ensure female members of the public have access to financial advice, and also to encourage more women into financial planning careers.

Earlier this year, the PFS received a letter from the chancellor and economic secretary in connection with an initiative the government had launched regarding a 'women in finance charter'.

We fully support the government's initiative, which calls on firms to agree to four key actions aimed at promoting diversity and gender parity in financial services. Along with the CII, the PFS is developing other initiatives to support women in financial services, from both a sector and consumer perspective.

I encourage you, our members, to do the same and to make your commitment to the HeForShe cause.

Recognising excellence across the profession

Last week, we conducted the first round of judging for this year's practitioner awards as part of our revamped annual awards programme.

We have had an overwhelming response to this year's expanded set of practitioner award categories, receiving more entries than ever before.

After reviewing each of the submissions, it is so pleasing to see the level of passion that exists in our profession, and the commitment that so many advisers have to ongoing learning, development and professionalism.

It was extremely difficult to select finalists from such an impressive pool of entries. I wish them all the best of luck in the next stage of the judging process!

Kind regards,



About the Blog

In this blog Personal Finance Society CEO Keith Richards will be keeping you up-to-date with all the Personal Finance Society news, projects and initiatives that we have in the works.

Read past editions of the blog »