Diversity and inclusion within financial services is essential, it was revealed on a panel discussion featured within The SimplyBiz Group’s MI Live event.

The panel included Dina Bhudia, chief executive of P2M Asset Management, Damian Thompson, group managing director of Aldermore Bank, and Emily Blain, HR director of The SimplyBiz Group.

The panel discerned that within the financial services sector diversity is a fact, while inclusivity is not.

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Guests suggested that some smaller firms may not see having a diversity and inclusion strategy as important to them.

However, they also explored the ways in which increasing diversity within a firm can help to improve decision making and innovation, reach new demographics of client and, as a result, grow profitability.

Thompson referenced a ‘nervousness’ that can be present in conversations about diversity, saying, from his perspective, it was unlikely to cause offence if someone was ‘genuinely trying to educate themselves’ about another person, be that learning more about differences in culture, race, gender, age or other diversities.

Bhudia agreed, adding that, from her experience, she believed any area should be open for discussion, as long as it is approached politely, with good intentions.

Overall, the panel agreed that they felt openness and good communication was vital to having productive conversations about this key area.

Other sessions during the event included mortgage market and economic updates, a deep-dive into the protection market and a compliance overview.