Platform company Nucleus is hosting a 'Ted Talk-style' event in London on International Women’s Day to promote diversity in the advice sector.
Under its Illuminate brand, Nucleus will have around seven speakers talking on the benefits of diversity and how advice firms can practically achieve it at the event on 8 March 2018.
Nucleus has signed up to the Women in Finance charter and set itself the target of 40% of all senior roles filled by women by 2021.
A recent freedom of information request revealed the extent of the issue in the advice sector. The percentage of women holding CF30 permissions has fallen in the past two years, from 17.9% to 13.9%.
Barry Neilson (pictured), Nucleus business development director, said working to this goal will bring challenges over the next few years.
‘We do have a gender pay gap as in the overall pay across the business. This is because we have a disproportionate number of males in senior roles.
‘Some of the challenges are quite big, like if we have an executive committee of five males and two female it is not an easy thing to achieve an even split.
‘What if none of the males plan to be leaving any time soon so there is no chance to bring more females in?’ Neilson asked.
The company is keen to look at some of these practical obstacles in this event, in particular those faced by small to medium-sized advice firms.
Neilson strongly believes the benefits brought by more diversity of gender, background, ethnicity and sexuality in the sector far outweigh the challenges to achieving it.
‘There is a lot of deeper research now that shows benefits of greater diversity such as avoiding groupthink, bringing in people with different approaches and fresh ideas.
‘There is clearly a moral element to this, it feels right to create a society that creates more opportunities for females.
‘It is something we believe in and we want to stimulate more debate around the issue of gender equality,’ he said.
Nucleus is prepared to use positive discrimination to achieve its diversity targets and Neilson gave the example of recruiting for the sales team.
‘In the sales team I manage, it is very difficult to recruit female salespeople because when you have a vacancy 90% of the applicants tend to be male.
‘The next time we have a sales vacancy, particularly in our north team where we have no females, we will have an exclusive period where we will only accept female applications for that role,’ he said.
Among the speakers at the event will be Anna Sofat, managing director of London-based Addidi Wealth.
Michelle Hoskin of Standards International, Iain Anderson, executive chairman of communications consultancy Cicero and disability and diversity consultant, Yasmin Sheikh are also among the confirmed speakers.