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Date updated: 23/06/2022

Find out more about the individuals and organisations who will be on the Advisory Board for the socio-economic diversity taskforce.

Alistair is the Engagement Services Researcher at PIRC Ltd and Engagement Partner.

Alistair has been at PIRC, one of Europe’s leading corporate governance and shareholder advisory consultancies, since January 2020. He works on environmental, social and governance issues in the finance sector, with a specific focus on local authority pension funds.

He has led on a number of engagements on diversity with companies in the financial sector and more broadly. Previously, he has worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Glasgow, providing holistic advice on a broad range of social problems, which gave him a special interest in social mobility and equality.

Andrea Eccles is the Chief Executive of the City HR Association, a professional body supporting people management within 150+ financial service organisations.

Her role is two-fold. The first is to understand the challenges facing organisations in respect of their talent and provide support through consultation, thought leadership, knowledge-sharing, training and best practice development. The second is to collaborate with members and other stakeholders to effect change in the workplace including culture.

Currently the Programme Director of City HR’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce she has a strong interest in enhancing social mobility through pre-entry, access and talent progression initiatives. She is also the Senior Warden of the HR Guild and Chair of their Charitable Trust.

Andrea left Sixth Form Technical School at 18, spent 12 years in HR within Investment Banking before moving into HR consulting where she progressed to Board Director level. She acquired her FCIPD qualification and MA in Human Resource Management as a mature student.

Anna is EMEA Market Lead - Sustainability and Resilience and ESG at GHD.

With over 18 years’ experience working within sustainability and strategy consulting, Anna joined Business in the Community in 2019 to set up a new directorate, where she sets the organisational strategy and leads a team of 30 spanning four areas: data analytics, impact measurement and evaluation, product & service development and innovation, and advisory services, which work with businesses to drive improvement in areas of responsible business.

Anna previously worked within EY’s sustainability advisory practice where she led large, multi-stakeholder projects spanning most geographies and sectors – all sharing the common purpose of making positive societal and environmental contributions. Prior to joining EY, she worked for numerous boutique consultancies and inter-governmental and not-for-profit organisations in New York, Brussels, Stockholm, Amsterdam and London.

Anna has a Master of Laws with a further Master’s degree in International Human Rights law, and is passionate about the role of business in creating a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for all. She serves on the Advisory Board of a global FMCG company, advising leadership on EDI issues.

Bhavini ‘Bev’ Shah is the founder and Chief Executive of City Hive, an independent organisation which helps the investment industry to meet their sustainability responsibilities in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive corporate culture. A trailblazer and outspoken media commentator, Shah is passionate about engaging with, educating, challenging, and holding the Investment Management Industry accountable to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Prior to founding City Hive, Shah was a member of the Aviva Investors Multi Manager Multi Asset team, which managed £89 billion of assets at the time. Previously, Shah held the role of Investment Funds Manager at Aviva, responsible for developing and managing the process for Investment Governance of External Funds for Aviva UK Life and International.

Shah has also held Portfolio Manager and Analyst roles with HSBC Investments and Merchant Securities Ltd and joined the City as an Equity trader on the Bear Stearns Graduate Scheme in London.

Shah is Co-Chair of the Race and Ethnicity Workstream for the Diversity Project and has been appointed to the Court of the Guild of Investment Managers. Last year she was awarded Freedom to the City of London and recognised for her contribution to the Industry at the Women in Investment Awards. She is also on the board of Governors for a London Primary School.

Brigit is the Global Head of Employee Activity at Standard Chartered.

She is a member of the European Management Committee and holds number of people and culture roles including on the EMEA Inclusion and Diversity Committee, EMEA Culture and Conduct Risk Committee, as an Ally for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network and is a trained mental health first aider.

Brigit has extensive experience in talent development, employee relations and diversity strategy. Her passion for inclusion, equality and attracting the best talent led her to champion social mobility activity in the firm and the importance of addressing barriers, creating connections and inclusive environments.

Chinwe is a partner in Employment group and the Global Partner for Talent for Clifford Chance. She is also a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Leadership Group.

Chinwe spends a significant amount of time advising clients on discrimination and diversity and inclusion (including positive action initiatives). Having been on the advisory side for a number of years, she understands the challenges that employers face when they want to do the right thing from a D&I perspective but they either don’t know where to start and they don’t feel the legislation or guidance cannot really be translated into the practicalities of their organisation.

Chinwe is a regular speaker at events focused on Diversity and Inclusion. Chinwe’s efforts in relation to Diversity & Inclusion have been recognised in the industry. She has been named as one of EMpower's 100 Ethnic Minority Executives for 2019, was shortlisted as a BAME Future Leader for the Investing in Ethnicity Awards and included in Cranfield University's 50 Women to Watch. She also sits on the City of London Law Society's Employment Law Committee and is partner sponsor for REACH (Clifford Chance’s ethnicity network).

Chinwe has a unique lived experience having worked her way to the top of the legal professional as black African woman of Igbo heritage.

Chris is Chief Executive at the Shaw Trust.

Chris joined the Trust in May 2019, after a distinguished flying and senior leader career in the armed forces, retiring as an Air-Vice Marshal. Chris had not planned to move into the voluntary sector, however, his life experiences, personal values and strong sense of purpose made him the perfect fit to lead Shaw Trust.  

Chris started life in a children’s home and his early years were in a challenging home environment, including being a recipient of various charity-care programmes. Therefore, he is a strong supporter of creating social opportunity to enable talent to prosper to the best of their ability despite life challenges.

To deliver on this, Chris has implemented a new organisational structure, reviewed and reset our strategic direction and championed new initiatives, including the Shaw Trust Foundation and Shaw Trust Policy Institute, both supporting and advocating for socio-economic diversity through opportunity.

Craig Rydqvist is Head of Financial Services, Europe and Asia at Varde Partners.

Craig is Senior Managing Partner on Värde’s Financial Services team responsible for investments in Europe and Asia Pacific. Based in London, he joined the firm in 2014.Craig established the Capital Markets function for Värde and served as Global Head of Capital Markets before transitioning to the Financial Services team.

Prior to joining Värde, Craig ran Structured Finance Origination and Structuring for the U.K. at the Royal Bank of Scotland where he established the bank and capital markets financing for SAV Credit/NewDay, a Värde investment. Prior to RBS, Craig worked in the Emerging Markets business of Barclays Capital and he began his career training as a Chartered Accountant in the Financial Sector practice at KPMG in London.

Craig graduated from the Masters in Finance Programme (MSc) at London Business School. He also holds a First Class undergraduate degree in Business and Management Studies (BSc) from the University of Bradford. Craig is a Chartered Accountant (ACA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Cristina Nestares is UK Insurance CEO, of Admiral, a UK market leader of Car, Home, Van and Travel insurance and renowned Great Place to Work. Cristina joined Admiral Group in 2005 following the completion of her MBA at INSEAD Business School. She began her Admiral career by founding Admiral’s Spanish Insurance operation (Admiral Seguros) which she successfully ran for 7 years.

Cristina then expanded her remit, managing both the group’s Insurance and Price Comparison businesses in France, Italy and Spain, before taking on her current role of Admiral UK CEO in 2016. In total, Cristina has over 18 years’ international experience predominantly gained within the financial service sector, with other areas including consulting and non-profit organisations.

In her free time she is a volunteer and trustee of ‘The Wallich’ a charity tackling homelessness in Wales, and has recently completed an Advanced Management Programme at Harvard University.

Darren is CEO and founder of Frontline Analysts which provide analyst teams to the City.

Frontline is based on a belief that elite talent is available everywhere. That means across the globe but also in Bethnal Green or Blackpool.

His career started after studying Politics, Economics and Philosophy (PPE) at Oxford and then working as a regulator at the Bank of England. This was followed by a career on trading floors mostly in the City, with pleasant diversions to Paris and Buenos Aires, working with French, Italian and German banks.

Darren is proud to that his journey started in a corner shop next to the Aston Villa stadium. Darren’s sense of injustice that not everyone in society gets a fair chance at his outcome has led to 30 years of work in diversity initiatives and his passion for the aims of this Taskforce. 

David is Head of Assessment at the FSCB and sits on the Executive Committee, with operational responsibility for the FSCB Assessment programme.

David joined the FSCB in 2017 having previously worked at the Advertising Standards Authority, where he managed teams in Investigations and Copy Advice.

David received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Hull and started his career as an English teacher in Barcelona and Osaka.

David is Director of Marketing and Comms at Hargreaves Lansdown.

David joined HL as Chief Marketing and Brand Officer in 2019 after a successful career in telecoms, including nearly a decade as Marketing Director for both BT and Vodafone.

David’s experience and knowledge covers the launch and growth of BT Sport, BT Infinity Broadband, BT Mobile, Vodafone Broadband and VOXI by Vodafone, the first youth-focused UK mobile network. He’s also an inventor – including the best-selling JetRest travel pillow – and is a Fellow of the Marketing Academy.

David grew up in a lower income family and council house environment. He was state educated, qualifying for a Grammar school in Kent. He was the first in his family to attend University and get a degree and following that, secured a prestigious place on the NatWest graduate program. He is a strong advocate of finding and nurturing ‘hidden’ talent.

Dipen works in Institutional Sales at Blockchain.com.

Dipen has over 20 years’ experience working in financial services where he has held a variety of client facing roles. Most recently he was a senior vice president for a global investment bank where alongside his responsibilities as a revenue generator he was a lead for the firm’s diversity initiatives – his particular focus being on social mobility.

He graduated with a degree in Law and Japanese language from Cardiff University, spending two years living and working in Japan. He subsequently completed the LPC but decided against being a solicitor and moved into banking.

He comes from a working-class family; neither of his parents completed secondary school. His father worked as a bus driver and his mother worked as an admin assistant whilst also making samosas for the local fish & chip shop in the evenings (he would also help). He attended the local comprehensive school where his parents were advised that he should not pursue higher education.

He is also the founder and director of Second Degree, a members’ only theatre club in London which organises around 50 visits a year to the theatre as well as being a mentor /business advisor to small businesses and start-ups.

Dominic Christian is Global Chairman of Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions and a member of the Global Executive of Aon Corporation.

Prior to this he was co-CEO of Aon Benfield and CEO of Aon UK Limited. Dominic is a Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a Director of The Bermuda Society, Chairman of the Lloyd's Tercentenary Research Foundation and Chairman of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA).

In 2014 he was honoured to be elected as a Member of the Council of Lloyd’s. For 2015/16 he was President of the Insurance Institute of London. He is currently Chairman of ClimateWise.

Dominic holds an Honours Degree in History from the University of East Anglia and an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law. His children describe his interests as family, conversation, history, architecture, football, tennis, lakes, cats and over-working. Not all are approved of.

Dr Grace Lordan is the Founding Director of The Inclusion Initiative, Director of the MSc in Behavioural Science and an Associate Professor in Behavioural Science at London School of Economics and Political Science.

She is an economist by background, and her research is focused on understanding why some individuals succeed over others because of factors beyond their control. In this regard, she has expertise on the effects of unconscious bias, discrimination and technology changes.

Grace is also interested in using the techniques of behavioural science to design interventions for firms to promote good conduct, diversity and inclusion and curb biases that creep into high stakes decision making. Grace has advised and given talks to large investment banks and international conferences on these topics.

Grace has also led projects to advise commissioners in the UK and policy makers in the EC. At the LSE Grace trains executives in these approaches through her teaching on corporate behaviour and decision making.

Emma Holden was appointed as Global Head of Human Resources for Schroders plc in November 2014. In this role she is responsible for the global HR teams around the firm and is a member of the Group Management Committee, ensuring that the firm's long-term focus and client-centric culture are reflected in its people strategy.

Prior to joining Schroders, Emma was IR director for Corus Group where she held various roles in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. She qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC in 1998.

Emma is a passionate advocate of inclusion and diversity, particularly social mobility. Growing up in a former mining community in South Wales, as the only child of a single parent, she grew up on benefits and received free school meals before becoming the first person in her family to go to university.

Gareth is Global Managing Partner at Allen and Overy LLP.

Gareth is passionate about spotting and investing in the potential of people and making Allen & Overy a place that offers opportunities to all and where everyone can thrive. He attended a comprehensive school in the North West and then Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He was the first generation of his family to attend University.

Gareth was Global Head of the Projects Group and Head of Energy at Allen & Overy from 2012 until his appointment as the firm’s Global Managing Partner in 2020.

Since his appointment, Gareth has led the firm’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has included the adoption of new ways of working to ensure that the firm continues to thrive and support its clients and people in the current challenging environment.

In his legal practice, Gareth works on all aspects of the development, acquisition, disposal and funding of energy and infrastructure assets around the world with a particular interest in developments that contribute to solving the trilemma of energy security, affordability and decarbonisation. He advises all participants in energy and infrastructure transactions, including governments, lenders, developers, contractors and secondary market purchasers, allowing him to quickly promote consensus and agreement based on this broad experience.

Gareth recognises that whilst Allen & Overy exists to support its clients, it must also strive to be a valued and valuable member of the communities that it touches. Although Allen & Overy is already well placed in this regard, there is always more that can be done to address the environmental, social and wellness challenges that many individuals, families and communities face.

Geoffrey Towers is the Non Executive Director at PIMFA and former Chief Executive Officer and member of the Executive Committee for Pershing Limited at BNY Mellon | Pershing. Geoff is the former  Managing Director and member of the Executive Committee for Pershing LLC and BNY Mellon’s EMEA Executive Committee.

He leads the long-term growth strategies for our businesses in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands and continental Europe. Geoff joined PIMFA in 2021, Previously, he was at Pershing Limited, joining in 2015. Prior to this, he was at Legal & General, where he was managing director responsible for platforms and distribution, as well as U.K. and international business development.

Prior to that, he was chief executive officer of Standard Life Savings Ltd and oversaw international funds, life insurance, pensions and retirement as a managing director at Barclays Bank. Geoff began his career at Citibank Asset Management, ultimately becoming chief administrative officer.

Geoff holds Bachelor and Master degrees from Cambridge University.

Serial entrepreneur, Gori Yahaya, is the CEO and founder of UpSkill Digital, a leading organisation in the world of digital education and inclusion. He has over a decade of experience building and implementing award-winning digital learning and social impact programs for many global organisations.

An evangelical advocate for diversity and inclusion with a mission to support people of minority ethnic backgrounds to boost progression and develop relevant skills for the future workplace, his expertise has been critical to the development and continued success of many global learning programmes covering regions across Europe, Africa, and Asia.

James is CEO at Divento Financials.

James began his career in the financial services industry as a futures trader in the late 1990’s. In 2008 he founded Divento Financials to focus on the training of FS professionals and increasing social and gender diversity within the FS sector.

Divento were part of the prestigious Trailblazer Group that wrote the Level 6 & Level 7 Financial Services Professional Apprenticeship Standard, developed in conjunction with Barclays, HSBC, Santander and RBS, to name but a few.

James currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) Educational Trust. Divento also recently featured in TheCityUK Financial Services Skills Taskforce final report as a case study highlighting their work around socio-economic development within the sector.

Jen is the People & Culture Director and is Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing at Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Responsible for embedding ways of working to enable everyday inclusion for all. Jenn gained experience working in senior people roles at Grant Thornton UK, BAE Systems and BAA at Heathrow. She runs leadership development programmes, coaches senior leaders and has led culture change programmes. She has a Master's degree, is a fellow of the CIPD and an Executive Coach Supervisor.

Jilly Cross is the Founder and MD of Bravand, an SME collective of digital problem solvers based in Hackney, London.

Trained as an actor, Jilly entered the world of design and advertising agencies at 20 years old with zero knowledge and official training of the industry at all - just a passion for ideas and the ability to talk.

Jilly is all too aware that her boarding school education, facilitated by her father’s rank as an officer in the army was a key enabler in getting her access to support, education, skills development and confidence. Success and opportunity was always presented to her as an inevitability.


Because of this, Jilly has been determined to facilitate and provide that very same support to those that don't have the same privilege as she has. Her work to date includes being a mentor for London-based skills and employability programme You Make It, London Living Wage work placement provision with both You Make It and Hackney Council and the ongoing use of both her and Bravand's professional platform and professional memberships (Heart of the City, London Living Wage and British Interactive Media Association) to promote and inspire social mobility in the creative and professional services sectors.

Jo is Head of Human Resources and a Partner at LGT Vestra, having joined the firm in 2014. Growing up in apartheid South Africa and observing the challenges faced by those who had far fewer opportunities than herself inspired Jo to pursue a career in HR, an area where she can help others grow and flourish.

In addition to her responsibilities as Partner and Head of HR, Jo is a member of the Management Board and a member of the firm's diversity and inclusion steering committee, #included. These roles allow Jo to influence, create change and positively contribute to the future of the firm and the financial services industry.

Prior to working within the financial services industry, Jo worked in the charity sector at The Prince's Trust and latterly mentored through Kids Company. Both experiences contributed to Jo's passion for social mobility with particular emphasis on education and career support for young people.

John is Vice Chair at the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum.

John was born and brought up in a former coal mining and potteries area of North-East Wales. His father was an electrician and mother a nurse. He went to a former secondary modern turned comprehensive and was the first member of his family to go to university.  

John is a passionate believer in diversity in all boardrooms which must include social economic. Not just for fairness but it is also a fundamental investment belief that true diversity will improve executive governance and decision making. He is an elected Councillor in London Borough Newham for West Ham ward since 2010 and former Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Housing. Member of Newham Council Pension Committee and previously its past Chair.  

Newham is a vibrant and exciting place to work and live but does has amongst the highest levels of poverty and social deprivation in the Country. He is the admitted Body member’s representative on London Borough Tower Hamlets Pension Board and has been involved with the London Borough Tower Hamlets fund since 1996. John is the joint vice Chair of Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF).

He is an Employer Trustee on UNISON Staff Pension Scheme since 2011 and Chair of its Investment sub-Committee.  John is also a member of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees and works for a National Housing Association. He occasionally does triathlons, keen walker and comments in strictly personal social media.

Julia is the founder of Beyond People Ltd.

Julia a highly experienced HR Director with proven abilities to develop, lead and deliver people and culture strategies. Prior to acting as Interim Chief People Officer at dispute resolution consultancy HKA, Julia was HR and Communications Director at LV= from 2013-17, and prior to that Group HRD at Wates Group.

She is also a Non-Executive Director with Greenoaks Housing Association in Woking, and a Trustee of UFI Trust, an organisation seeking to develop adult vocational skills through digital learning. She joins Lloyd’s to build on the work underway to ensure we promote and develop an inclusive and innovative culture.

Julie is the Managing Director at UK Finance. Julie has worked in Financial Services for over 30 years in number of senior roles. Her career started in 1989 by sending a letter from her home in Liverpool to UBS in London asking for a job and luckily for her they offered her one. Since then she has worked at Deutsche Bank and ICAP and is now an MD at UK Finance.

Being a product of social mobility herself and having to navigate her career with a working class background, she is passionate about giving young people the opportunity that she benefited from and the support to progress. Julie is also a Trustee of Leadership through Sport Business, a social mobility charity that places bright young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into meaningful roles and works closely with their board on the national and regional strategy and supports the cohorts in Liverpool.

Justin is the Portfolio Manager, at Legal and General Investment.

Justin manages £6bn in one of the UK’s most popular fund ranges; the L&G Multi-Index Funds. As a founding member of #talkaboutblack, Justin has led numerous initiatives aimed at increasing representation across the corporate sphere. This included the international, cross-industry allyship campaign #IAM which Justin co-founded following the BLM protests of 2020. Justin also founded EnCircle, a mentoring network connecting industry newcomers with senior Black professionals.

Within LGIM, Justin sits on the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and co-chairs the Legal & General Inclusion Team (LEGIT), heading up nine employee networks within the firm and overseeing several initiatives including a shadowing program for staff, which led to many ethnic minority employees being given access to otherwise exclusive areas within the organisation.

Justin also facilitates regular Insight Days to give ethnic minority students opportunities to connect with investment professionals. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2020.

Lee Hodgkinson is the CEO of global trading and edtech firm OSTC Ltd and Non-Executive Chairman of BMLL Technologies Ltd. Known industrywide for his straight-talking communication and persistence, Lee’s focus is on establishing OSTC as an enterprising, global business that champions the best derivatives trading, training, technology and talent.   

Regarded by many as an authentic and people-focused leader, his ambition is twofold; to position OSTC as pioneers in digital trading that enables anyone, anywhere to learn and trade, and improve socio-mobility and diversity across the wider financial services sector. 

In his previous roles, Lee served as a Member of the Managing Board of Euronext NV, was CEO of Euronext London, and held the position of CEO of SmartPool, the European dark pool joint venture with J.P. Morgan, HSBC and BNP Paribas. He began his career at the London Stock Exchange and was voted CEO of the year in FOW’s International Awards 2020.

Luba is Global Head of Research at Willis Towers Watson's investment business; providing investment advisory and fiduciary management services to institutional investors around the world. She is responsible for the global team of analysts conducting investment research on asset management firms around the world in a variety of different asset classes, coming up with investment recommendations for WTW's clients and creating new solutions in those areas of the asset management industry where there is demand from asset owners but no solutions exist.

Luba's primary responsibilities are: pure investment (ensuring the quality of research and investment decisions as well as responsibility for the ultimate performance of client portfolios), business management (new products and services, team management, efficiency, resourcing) and working with some of the largest asset owners globally advising them on their governance structures, strategy, portfolio construction and investment selection.

Luba joined WTW in 2005 and has always had global responsibilities working in WTW's offices in London and New York. Prior to assuming the responsibility for the global manager research team in 2014, Luba led the global private markets research team and helped grow WTW's private markets advisory business from a start-up stage to a serious player encompassing private equity, real estate, infrastructure and illiquid credit and servicing large institutional investors in different geographies around the world.

Luba started her career in 1996 in Russia where she was involved in a number of private equity investments at the time of the large scale privatisation and business restructuring in Eastern Europe. She also owned her own timber business in Russia. Luba attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and holds an MBA degree from London Business School, a MS in Finance from the Finance Academy in Russia and a BA in Linguistics from the Linguistic University in Belarus. She has also completed the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Programme in the UK.

Mikael Down is the ESG Lead, EMEA Firm Management at Morgan Stanley. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director for Assessment and Insights at the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB), where he was also a member of the Board. He oversaw the FSCB's assessments of organisational cultures, highlighting where progress was being made and where more needed to be done, based on input every year from tens of thousands of employees from across financial services. He led the FSCB’s work on designing and trialling interventions, and was particularly focused on using data and behavioural science to help firms overcome barriers to equality, diversity and inclusion.

He is also active in promoting the socially responsible application of advanced technologies and is undertaking a part-time PhD on artificial intelligence and ethics. Previously he was in senior leadership roles at the Financial Conduct Authority and before that HM Treasury, which he joined a graduate economist; becoming the first in his family to enter an established profession.

He grew up in South Wales, where he went to a local comprehensive school. Alongside his work, he is a Trustee at the Finance Innovation Lab, Visiting Lecturer at Queen Mary University London, Researcher at the Alan Turing Institute, and Fellow at the Forward Institute.

Michael is CEO of Man FRM and Man Solutions, and member of Man Group’s Executive Committee.

Prior to this, Michael was COO (2013 to 2017) and Head of Quantitative Research (2007 to 2013) at Man FRM. He has also held positions at Aspect Capital and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney.

Michael grew up in a working-class background in the north of England. He studied at a comprehensive school and went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Southampton.

Throughout his life, Michael has worked extremely hard and been fortunate to have many opportunities come his way as a result. He has always found the guidance of mentors to be critical to his journey and feels passionately that others from backgrounds similar to his should have the same support and opportunities to thrive in our industry.

Mitra Janes is featured on the Global Diversity List’s top 20 diversity champions and was named as one of the top 50 diversity professionals in industry in 2016 and 2017.

Mitra recently joined HSBC as their Gloabl Head of Diversity & Inclusion.  She was previously the Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion at RSA and was responsible for leading the delivery of the D&I strategy; managing RSA’s monitoring and reporting of progress in D&I both internally and externally; facilitating the group-wide D&I council and providing guidance and subject matter expertise across the company.

Prior to joining RSA, Mitra had spent nearly 5 years at global law firm DLA Piper as Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Mitra spent a significant proportion of her career in generalist HR positions at Ford Motor Company before specialising in diversity and inclusion.

Mitra is looking forward to utilising her genuine passion and enthusiasm for D&I and her experiences from both the legal and financial services sectors to contribute to the work of the Taskforce. She is keen to ensure that opportunities to progress and have a rewarding career are not limited by socio-economic status.

Having worked in the UK insurance industry for over 25 years across both Life Assurance and Property and Casualty, Nigel is an accomplished business leader with significant commercial experience (including mergers and acquisitions). He has an in-depth knowledge of distribution, propositions, first line control functions and execution of strategy.

Before his current role as Head of Strategy UK, Nigel was the Commercial Director Life for 15 years, followed by Head of Retail a.i. and CEO of Zurich UK’s Wealth and Investment businesses. Nigel graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BA (Hons) degree in Economics and as ‘Economic Student of the Year’.

He has since qualified as an accountant and most recently completed a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring at Oxford Brooks University, achieving a distinction and the top award for his contribution to executive coaching research.

Nicholas is a strong advocate for equality diversity & inclusion (EDI) in business and society. His own journey began in a largely working class rural environment and he was the first in his extended family to go to university. Nicholas is the Executive Chair of PRIME, a charity with over 60 law firm members committed to promoting wider access to the legal sector for school-age students.

He initiated LawSMART, a social mobility action roundtable involving 22 organisations to identify collaborative initiatives to improve access to the law. He is a Senior Counsel and former Partner of Hogan Lovells and was its global Chair for 6 years. Nicholas is also a trustee and past Chair of Making the Leap, a London-based charity helping socio-economically disadvantaged young people.

He holds a number of other roles, including being an Independent Member of the governing Council of the University of Exeter. 

Noel is the Chief Executive Officer of Adviser Platforms and Member of Executive Leadership Team.

He has worked in Financial Services for 33 years and joined Standard Life in October 2003, holding a number of senior management positions prior to his appointment to CEO in 2019. Alongside this role, Noel is also a board director for abrdn and a member of the Government’s Advisory Board which is tasked with boosting the socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services.

At abrdn, Noel is responsible for setting, leading and delivering both the UK platforms strategy in the retail and wholesale savings and investments markets and, on an interim basis, the consumer business strategy

Noel is passionate about the experience abrdn delivers for its customers and clients. He believes that both customers and clients should have an effortless experience regardless of how they interact with us.

Nosheen has a unique career background with extensive experience as a corporate lawyer, an investment fund manager and an entrepreneur. Nosheen began her career in 2001 in the corporate finance team at Clifford Chance before transitioning to the hedge fund industry where she became a portfolio manager. She went on to become a founding member of a $1.2 billion Chicago-based hedge fund before following her passion and embarking on an entrepreneurial venture to co-found a health-food restaurant chain in London.

Nosheen’s diverse career history gives her a unique perspective on the professional and financial services industries. Her personal background, as a second-generation British Pakistani woman from a working-class background, has also made her acutely aware of the intersectionality of barriers faced by under-represented groups during different stages of their careers.

Nosheen grew up in Surrey and studied Law at King’s College, London, graduating with 1st class hons. She currently lives in London. Nosheen is a passionate advocate for equality of opportunity and looks forward to bringing her experience and insights to this important initiative.

Olly Benzecry is the former chairman of Accenture United Kingdom and Ireland (UKI). 

Accenture is proud of the recognition it regularly receives as a market leader in responsible business, corporate citizenship, diversity and employee well-being—agendas that Olly is extremely passionate about.

Olly has led many collaborative initiatives including those focused on improving social mobility. Olly is a founding trustee and chairman of Movement to Work, playing a leading role in establishing the coalition with fellow senior leaders from FTSE100 companies, Government, and charities. He has seen first-hand how such collaboration has helped more than 100,000 young people mainly from socially disadvantaged backgrounds participate in life transforming work placements. Olly is also on the board of the UK government's Inclusive Economy Partnership which brings together business, civil society and government to enrich lives and build a more inclusive society.

Pamela is the Chair, Board member & Partner at of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and a partner in the firm’s Financial Services sector. Coming from a very ordinary background and a mix of schools, she attended Oxford at a time when only about 16% of students were female and joined the City when female partners were in low double figures.

She became one of the first female partners in her firm and is the first female Chair of Eversheds Sutherland. Through these experiences she has lived through and empathises strongly with the common challenges that those in lower socio-economic groups continue to face of not quite belonging, the effort of trying to fit, the lack of connections and role models.

Despite many good intentions over the last 30 years, she passionately believes that the dial on D&I needs to move further within the legal sector, in particular socio-economic diversity which for too long has been perceived as almost too difficult to tackle.

Peter Frost is an Executive Director and Chief Customer Officer at Coventry Building Society. He joined the Society in 2012 and is responsible for managing day-to-day operations including the Society’s Customer Operations and Branch Network. Peter has over 30 years’ experience in the UK retail financial services sector and is a passionate advocate of the advantages of a workforce that feels engaged, valued and respected.

He has driven a fresh approach to diversity and inclusion at the Society including championing the benefits of a diverse workforce of talented people, representative of local communities. From his early working experiences in retail branches in South East London, to his role today as Vice Chair of a school in a disadvantaged part of Coventry, he has significant personal experience of the challenges socio-economic factors can bring and the need for these to be overcome.

Rachel Kent is Partner and Head of Financial Services Regulation at Hogan Lovells, advising banks, insurers, asset managers and clearing houses and exchanges. She has been recognised as a leading individual in her field by industry commentators and legal directories for nearly two decades.

She brings her passion for social mobility, stemming from her own background, to her work through acting as a mentor including in relation to progression issues, and through providing pro bono services. She supports London Lives, a collaboration established by Hogan Lovells of corporates and youth charities committed to tackling knife crime, and the London Village Network (LVN) grassroots charity.

Rachel advised LVN on an innovative collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Service, an app centred on building networks of positive opportunities for young people to improve their lives and help them to achieve their ambitions. They continue to collaborate to expand the offering.

Richard Kaye is MD, Head of International Public Affairs for J.P. Morgan. Richard has been a member of J.P. Morgan's UK & Regional Management Committees in Europe; Chair of the Financial Services Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union; and is Member of the Council of the International Regulatory Strategy Group of CityUK. He is a member of JPMorgan Chase’s LGBT Executive Council and the firm’s EMEA Diversity Council.

Richard has been Managing Director at Paragon since January 2020. In his previous role he was the Managing Director of Mortgages for Bank of Ireland and he has almost three decades of Retail Banking leadership experience across five major UK banks.

Richard joined the UK Finance Mortgage Product and Service Board in 2016 and is also a member of the Buy-to-let Committee. He is an associate member of Charted Institute of Bankers and hold an honours degree in financial services. In addition, Richard is non-executive Board Member for Estuary Housing Association.

Robert is Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure and Housing Finance, Global Corporate and Investment Banking (“GCIB”) at. He joined MUFG in 2011 and is part of the structured and project finance team as Head of Infrastructure and Housing Finance for MUFG in EMEA. His 35 year career in financial services started with an entry level position having left an inner London state school aged just 16.

Since then, Robert has held roles at some of the UK’s largest banks, building his current success from the ground upwards following a working class upbringing. As a result, Robert is passionate about creating opportunities for those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and played a pivotal part in the launch of MUFG’s Social Mobility Employee Network during 2019 with the aim of creating tangible change within the industry and society more widely.

Samantha Crocker is Managing Director at Devonshire Appointments and also sits on the Boards of Paragon Customer Communications and Paragon Workplace Solutions.  

By nature, Sam has an entrepreneurial spirit, building several businesses in the Recruitment and Staffing sector. Living and working in Romania and Asia for over 20 years, Sam has seen what people can achieve, first-hand, with the right support and guidance, despite background, education, financial stability or parental income.

Sam strongly believes that every person has the right to work, develop and succeed in their chosen career irrespective of their socio-economic background. 

Sam is Deputy Director at the Learning & Work Institute. Sam focuses on boosting policy and practice in learning, skills and employment. Sam also co-founded the Youth Employment Group in March 2020, bringing together key leaders and experts around the youth employment sector to help drive the UK’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Previously, Sam was Director of Policy for Impetus, which transforms the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by ensuring they get the right support to succeed in school, in work and in life. Sam was also Head of Policy at ERSA, the representative body for the employment support sector, and has led the public affairs teams for providers in the private and charity sectors. Sam is also a GoLab Fellow of Practice 2021.

Samir Manek is an Associate solicitor specialising in regulatory matters in the financial services space at Mishcon de Reya. He trained as a solicitor at Allen & Overy and spent three years working at the Financial Conduct Authority.

Prior to commencing his legal career, Samir worked for a diversity consultancy, Rare Recruitment, on their multi-award winning law focused development programmes for students from lower socio-economic status groups. He has since continued to be interested in addressing the progression gap and highlighting the competitive advantage of socio-economic diversity at all levels within organisations.

Aware of the challenges and opportunities of the Taskforce's work, he looks forward to his work on the Advisory Board to create real and meaningful change.

Sarah is a Partner at BDO sitting with the firm’s risk advisory team. Alongside her role as partner, Sarah sits on BDO’s ‘Culture Board, is a Trustee of Kidney Care UK and a patron for Access Accountancy, a programme to increase social mobility and promote equal opportunities for those entering the accountancy profession.

Having grown-up in the Caribbean and choosing an alternative route rather than attending university, Sarah had a different upbringing and path to many of her peers, leading to feelings of having to change herself in order to fit in and succeed as she started out. This is a key reason Sarah takes the lead on BDO’s ‘Be Yourself’ agenda, encouraging everyone at BDO to be true to themselves, and realise their own potential. As a result of her own experiences, Sarah believes society has an important responsibility in levelling the playing field and creating opportunities for access and progression to everyone.

Shalin Bhagwan is Managing Director: Head of Pensions Advisory and EMEA Consultants at DWS Group (the investment management arm of Deutsche Bank). Shalin works in the investment management industry specialising in fixed income, credit and asset-liability management for pension funds and insurance companies. Previously he worked in the investment consulting and insurance industries.

Based in London, he works for the global investment management firm DWS Group and has previously held positions at Legal & General Investment Management, AXA Investment Managers and Mercer. He started his career as an actuary working for Africa’s largest insurance company where he also qualified as a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries.

Shazia Ejaz is  Director of Comms at Recruitment and Employment Confederation. Shazia is a communications specialist who has worked across a range of sectors. Initially starting out doing government communications on employment and education issues amongst others, she moved into professional services where her work focussed on financial services and the public sector.

More recently she has enjoyed working in the not for profit sector including at the Living Wage Foundation and British Red Cross. She now leads the campaigns work of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, coming full circle on working from the beginning of her career to ensure the UK has a successful and inclusive labour market.

Stephen is the Owner of Exogeny Consulting​. Stephen is a specialist in corporate responsibility, social impact and social inclusion, with more than twenty years’ experience of working across business, government and civil society.

He spent his early career in strategic roles across government and then spent 12 years at PwC, as a senior management consultant, a senior corporate responsibility manager and then their Head of Social Mobility. He created PwC UK’s first social inclusion strategy, covering recruitment, progression, community and advocacy activities, because he wanted to see a big employer do more to support the development of people from all social backgrounds. He developed a programme that has seen PwC become the top-ranked employer in the UK for social mobility.

Stephen is passionate about social mobility because it’s his story. He grew up in a working class, immigrant, Irish family in London. Stephen’s family worked in shops and factories, he went to a comprehensive school and is the first member of his family to go to university. Stephen has ended up working in big businesses and government departments but didn’t realise until much later how unusual that is, for someone who has his kind of background.

Stephen feels very lucky that his past has not defined his future. But for so many people, the circumstances they are born into has limited their education and employment opportunities and ultimately their life chances – he believes that is desperately wrong and is a waste of so much unfulfilled talent.

Stephen founded Exogeny Consulting in 2018 and now works with organisations on issues related to responsible business and inclusion, helping them to define and achieve their strategic goals, guiding their progress and enabling them to measure, understand and maximise their impact. Fairness and inclusion are, and always will be, at the heart of everything he does.

Steve Ellis is Global Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Fixed Income at Fidelity International. He has just under 30 years’ experience in Financial Services, having worked as a Portfolio Manager for a large part of his career at Goldman Sachs, and also at Lehman Brothers.

In his role at Fidelity International, he is a keen advocate of social mobility and cognitive diversity. He himself went to state school and was the first member of his family to go to University, so feels strongly that there needs to be more representation from all social backgrounds within the City.

Susi is COO, EMEA at Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. She has more than 20 years’ experience in global asset management operations and is a passionate advocate of diversity, inclusion and good governance.

Susi is originally from Hull, a deprived city in the north east of England. Her first job was in her Grandad’s fish and chip shop. She attended state school and a non-Russell Group university at undergraduate level, she has an MBA from Imperial College London. Being the first generation in her family to attend university she has first-hand experience of assimilating to dominant higher socio-economic cultures.

Today, Susi is executive sponsor of Cambridge Associates’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative for the EMEA region. She sits on CA’s Executive, Risk, and Benefits Governance Committees and is an active member of the firm’s inclusion working group. She is a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

Symon is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Pemberton.

His career has seen him work at the forefront of debt capital markets for over 30 years. From restructuring the Ukraine’s sovereign debt at ING Barings, to de-risking RBS’ US mortgage book, he has worked on some of the industry’s most iconic deals.

Originally from Western Australia and having grown up on a farming property Symon graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Commerce.

As the impact of the coronavirus crisis on SMEs grew last year, Symon was involved in industry discussions with the UK government after its refusal to extend its Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to the so-called “squeezed middle” of companies with a turnover of over £500mn.

Led by Symon, Pemberton participated in ‘Government Responses’ documents in an effort to shed light on the issue and support the industry through the pandemic.

Vicki is Responsible Business Director at St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

In this role she leads the groups approach to being a leading responsible business which includes societal impact, environmental impact, inclusion and diversity and the group’s Charitable Foundation.  

Her current role brings together her desire to make money a force for good, her passion for equality and her flair for driving change. She believes passionately that building inclusive cultures where everyone contributes is critical to harnessing the benefits of a richly diverse workplace.

Vicki has worked in Financial services for over 23 years and has gained her knowledge and skills from a variety of roles during that time including client facing, business development and operational appointments. She began her career after leaving state school in North Yorkshire. In 2008 she became a chartered financial planner and a fellow of the Personal Finance Society.

She is passionate about breaking down some of the unnecessary stigmas associated with socio-economic backgrounds and surfacing the aspirational and uplifting stories of those who have achieved incredible success in our industry.  

Vikesh Patel is Head of Americas, UK, Ireland (Ad interim) and Head of UK, and Ireland.

In this role, Vikesh is responsible for SWIFT's Business Development and Client Relationships across these countries, as well as strategic direction and growth in the region. In addition, Vikesh is a senior Diversity & Inclusion Sponsor within SWIFT, focusing on Race and Ethnicity.

Vikesh joined SWIFT in 2017, charged with strengthening the cooperative’s key relationships and delivering commercial performance across its portfolio of products and services. He is actively involved in leading industry associations across the UK, including UK Finance, Innovate Finance, The Association for Foreign Banks, and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Emerging Payments Association.

Prior to SWIFT, Vikesh was Chief Operating Officer at LCH focusing on strategy, risk management and the development of new products for the EquityClear and RepoClear businesses. Vikesh has also served in global executive roles at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, with a primary focus on market infrastructure and post trade strategy.

Vikesh started his career at HM Treasury working on a range of domestic and international policy areas and served as a Private Secretary to both the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

Zaheer is a multi-award-winning Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) thought leader. Currently, he is the Global Inclusion and Diversity Lead for Consumer Healthcare at GSK. Prior to this he was Head of Strategic Delivery at Ernst & Young responsible for leading the Race strategy for the firm and chaired the firmwide Race Working Group.

Zaheer spent over 13 years in the police service, serving in various departments including Uniformed Policing, Force Intelligence Bureau, Major Incident Suite. He is recipient of numerous national and international awards. He was appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition for his services to the police service.

He is a serving magistrate and a School Governor. He is a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, member of the Strategic Race Advisory Board at the Chartered Management Institute and Advisor to British Academy of Management.

Terms of Reference for Advisory Board
Date submitted: 19/07/21