New diversity and inclusion framework for finance sector

New framework and certification for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for financial services and insurance businesses.

Operators in the financial services and insurance sectors have come together to develop a new framework and certification for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in response to extensive industry engagement for support of regulatory requirements and mandatory reporting.

The initiative has been coordinated through a strategic partnership involving the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at IT Carlow, Inclusio, CIRDAS, and ISEFSC in 2022. Founding industry partners include RSA Insurance, 123.ie, FBD Insurance, New Ireland Assurance, Bank of Ireland Insurance Services, and further partners are sought.

“Diversity is not just a matter of regulatory compliance for insurance companies it’s a clear and present business-performance opportunity”

The overarching aim of the initiative is to provide a blueprint for achieving and implementing EDI in the workplace, and for it to become a key organisational and business concern. The initiative has been included under the Government’s five-year ‘Ireland for Finance’ strategy and in their action plan for 2022.

A business performance opportunity

“Although many organisations have made great strides in becoming more diverse and building inclusion, some companies are leading the way by making D&I a business priority,” said Sandra Healy, CEO and founder of Inclusio.

“Diversity is not just a matter of regulatory compliance for insurance companies it’s a clear and present business-performance opportunity.”

To coincide with the new initiative, the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at IT Carlow is providing a free online masterclass series as well as accredited certificates focusing on EDI within the financial services and insurance sectors. In addition, a Level 8 60 credit Higher Diploma in Business in EDI will soon be available through the faculty of Lifelong learning at IT Carlow also.

The practical and solutions-focused masterclass series will equip participants with the tools and practical knowledge required around the application of EDI in the workplace while also providing expert insights into the components required for successful compliance of Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) requirements and EU regulations.

Taking place bi-weekly from April to June 2022, the series is specifically aimed at individuals who are responsible for the delivery and implementation of Central Bank of Ireland mandatory reporting as well as EDI strategy and action planning within their organisation.

Damian Rossiter, Development and Programme Manager for CIRDAS said: “We are delighted to work with a progressive partner in inclusio towards addressing industry gaps in the EDI area as highlighted by numerous industry and regulatory reports such as Central Bank thematic audits which identified areas requiring significant development. The rollout of much-needed EDI solutions through masterclasses, the maturity framework, and accredited education solutions designed in conjunction with and for industry presents an exciting opportunity we feel.”

Catriona Murphy, Cluster manager at Ireland South East Financial Services Cluster (ISEFSC) added: ‘We are very pleased that it was the collaboration within the cluster community who initiated this project. The cluster community of Ireland South East Financial Services will benefit immensely through this strategic EDI framework where together firms will unlock the powerful advantages of a diverse and modern workforce. Working with Inclusio and the Faculty of Life Long Learning at IT Carlow.”

EDI masterclass series

The five sessions in the masterclass series are:

  • ‘Building Workplaces where people want to work and inclusive leadership’
  • ‘Workplace Culture and Decision Making’
  • ‘Practical application of EDI in the workplace’
  • ‘Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) requirements and EU regulation’
  • ‘Building a Workable Action plan (Org self-assessment/ Framework)’

The classes will be presented by Sandra Healy and Simon Haigh, who between them bring over 50 years of industry experience in management, organisation, and entrepreneurial undertakings as well as substantial contributions to academia.

In addition to the development and delivery of specific education and training programmes, work under the Diversity and Talent theme reflects the important commitment by industry associations to supporting further improvements in diversity and inclusion in the sector. In addition, it hopes to inform policymakers on the needs and challenges in developing and retaining talent for the sector.

Commenting on the new collaboration, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, TD, said: “It is great to see such collaboration between a higher education institution and key industry figures to support and improve Equality, diversity, and inclusion. We each have a responsibility to commit to positive change. To acknowledge the opportunity for structural and cultural change within organisations is a great starting point. It goes to show what can be achieved when collaboration on this level takes place. We welcome this initiative and look forward to supporting it.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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