Diversity and Inclusion  – What does it take to develop the workforce that drives success? 

Diversity as a Driver: Fueling Innovation and Growth 

By Daryl Hine, Chief Operating Officer, Stellar Asset Management  

As the Chief Operating Officer, my commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is not merely a professional stance; it’s a personal conviction encapsulating my working  background and the perspectives formed over many years which I believe fuels the innovation and resilience of an organisation. In the ever-evolving landscape of financial services, the recent proposals by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to bolster D&I are a testament to the industry’s acknowledgement of its significance. 

In this article, I will examine how these measures are not just regulatory formalities but pivotal steps towards unlocking the full potential of our workforce.  I will delve into the positive impacts of D&I on business outcomes, individual growth, and how, as a leader, I champion these values to further steer our company towards excellence in this area . I will discuss the transformative power of embracing D&I and how it aligns with the strategic vision of not just meeting, but exceeding regulatory expectations, fostering a culture where every voice is heard, and every contribution is valued. 

This commitment to D&I is not just about being on the right side of history; it’s about being on the smart side of business. It’s about creating an environment where diverse talents thrive, leading to better decisions, more innovative solutions, and a stronger, more adaptable organisation ready to meet the challenges of a dynamic global market. 

What is D&I?

D&I in the workplace is an ethos that extends beyond the visible aspects of race, gender, age, and physical abilities, to include the non-visible facets such as education, socioeconomic status, neurodivergence, personality traits, religious beliefs, and life experiences. It’s about fostering an environment where all employees, regardless of their differences, are provided with equal opportunities, treated with fairness and respect, and feel valued and included. D&I initiatives strive to create a workplace that not only acknowledges but also celebrates these myriad differences, nurturing a culture of collaboration, innovation, and mutual respect. By wholeheartedly embracing D&I, organisations stand to gain from a wealth of diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills, leading to heightened creativity, problem-solving, and a more robust and thriving business. 

How can adopting & embracing a D&I policy help Business Results 

The business benefits of embracing D&I are manifold and extend far beyond compliance with legal standards. A commitment to D&I fosters a workplace brimming with innovation and creativity, as employees from varied backgrounds contribute diverse perspectives and ideas. This diversity of thought is the catalyst for groundbreaking solutions and services, exemplified by industry giants like Google and Apple, whose innovative success is often attributed to their inclusive workforce policies. Moreover, a D&I-focused company can better understand and serve its multifaceted customer base, enhancing customer satisfaction and expanding market reach. 

Attracting and retaining top talent is another significant benefit, as prospective employees are increasingly drawn to companies that demonstrate a genuine commitment to inclusivity. This, in turn, leads to a more engaged workforce, driving productivity and, by extension, profitability. Financially, the correlation between a diverse executive team and above-average profitability has been substantiated by research from McKinsey & Company, highlighting the tangible economic advantages of D&I initiatives. 

Furthermore, companies that champion D&I are often held in higher regard, enjoying an enhanced reputation that can lead to increased brand loyalty and customer retention. Internally, such policies promote a culture of mutual respect and collaboration, resulting in a more adaptable and resilient organisation. By embedding D&I into their core business strategy, organisations not only contribute to a more equitable society but also secure a competitive edge in an ever-evolving global marketplace. 

How to get serious about D&I in the workplace 

Embracing D&I in the workplace is not just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic advantage. As the Chief Operating Officer, I have seen firsthand how a diverse and inclusive environment can drive innovation, foster creativity, and lead to better decision-making. But how do we move beyond lip service and get serious about D&I? Here are some actionable steps: 

  1. Leadership Commitment: It starts at the top. Leaders must not only talk the talk but walk the walk. This means setting clear D&I goals and holding themselves accountable for meeting them.
  2. Comprehensive Training: Education is key. Implementing comprehensive training programs that cover unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive leadership can help change mindsets and behaviours.
  3. Inclusive Recruitment: To build a diverse workforce, we must broaden our talent search and remove biases from our hiring processes. This includes re-evaluating job descriptions, diversifying recruitment channels, and implementing fair interviewing practices.
  4. Support Networks: Creating employee resource groups and support networks can provide a platform for underrepresented groups to share their experiences and insights, fostering a sense of belonging and community.
  5. Regular Assessment: What gets measured gets done. Regularly assessing our D&I efforts through surveys, feedback, and data analytics helps us understand where we are and where we need to improve.
  6. Policy and Practice Review: Ensuring our policies and practices support D&I is crucial. This includes everything from flexible working arrangements to anti-discrimination policies.
  7. Celebrate Diversity: Recognising and celebrating the diverse cultures, backgrounds, and holidays of our employees can help build an inclusive culture.
  8. Encourage Allyship: Encouraging all employees to become allies and advocates for D&I can help create a supportive environment for everyone.
  9. External Collaboration: Partnering with external organisations can provide fresh perspectives and resources. For example, attending conferences like the Embracing Diversity: Advancing LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace 2024 can offer insights into the latest policies and strategies for improving inclusion.
  10. Continuous Improvement: D&I is not a one-time initiative; it’s a continuous journey. We must be open to learning, adapting, and improving our strategies over time

I believe that our company already supports and promotes D&I, and we have the full backing of the Leadership Team. However, this is a process and unless you test yourself you might not see how much more you can truly adopt D&I and make it part of your culture. Our commitment is to action these steps so we can build a workplace where everyone feels respected and encouraged to give their best work. This, in turn, leads to a stronger, more successful company  that is equipped to thrive in a diverse and ever-changing world.

What to watch out for? 

Adopting a D&I policy can be a complex endeavour with its own set of challenges. While the overarching goal is to foster a workplace that celebrates and utilises the varied backgrounds and perspectives of its employees, the path to achieving this can be fraught with obstacles. Resistance to change is a common hurdle, as some employees may cling to the status quo, potentially leading to conflict or a lack of cooperation. The financial aspect cannot be overlooked either, as the costs associated with implementing a D&I strategy, such as training and policy development, can be substantial. 

Moreover, there’s the risk of tokenism, where D&I efforts are perceived as superficial, potentially harming the company’s reputation. Legal risks also loom, as missteps in compliance with employment laws can lead to legal challenges. Setting unrealistic diversity targets can place undue pressure on HR and management, potentially leading to hasty and ill-considered decisions. Cultural misunderstandings can arise without proper training and awareness, leading to miscommunication. 

Additionally, there’s the concern of diversity fatigue, where continuous emphasis on D&I without visible progress can lead to scepticism among employees. Privacy concerns are also paramount, as the collection and handling of sensitive data on employees’ backgrounds necessitate robust data protection measures. Lastly, if D&I initiatives are not aligned with the existing corporate culture, they may fail to take root, undermining the sustainability of such efforts.  

It’s crucial for organisations to navigate these potential downsides with a strategic and thoughtful approach, ensuring that D&I policies are integrated seamlessly and sustainably into the corporate culture. 


In conclusion, D&I in the workplace is a multifaceted initiative that requires careful consideration and strategic implementation. It’s about creating an environment where every employee feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and skills. The journey towards a truly inclusive workplace is ongoing and involves everyone in the organisation. By embracing D&I, companies not only enhance their innovation and market reach but also reflect the rich tapestry of society within their workforce. This commitment to D&I is not just a moral imperative but a strategic business decision that can lead to increased profitability and a competitive edge in the global marketplace. As we move forward, it is essential to continue fostering an inclusive culture where diversity is celebrated, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive. 



Further Reading:  

FCA Consultation Paper 

Here is a link to the FCA/PCI proposals,  Summary of the document: 

  • Financial regulators propose measures to boost diversity and inclusion: The FCA and PRA have published consultation papers that outline new rules and guidance to promote healthy work cultures, reduce groupthink and unlock talent in financial services firms. 
  • Misconduct such as bullying and sexual harassment poses a risk to firm culture: The regulators have clarified that non-financial misconduct, such as bullying and sexual harassment, is relevant for assessing the fitness and propriety of employees and can undermine the safety and soundness of firms. 
  • Diversity and inclusion can enhance competitiveness and consumer outcomes: The regulators have argued that increased diversity and inclusion can help firms attract and retain the best talent, improve internal governance, decision making and risk management, and better understand the needs of diverse consumers. 
  • Proposed requirements include setting targets, reporting data and developing strategies: The regulators have proposed flexible and proportionate minimum standards for firms to improve their diversity and inclusion practices, such as setting targets to address under-representation, collecting and disclosing data on certain characteristics, and developing a diversity and inclusion strategy.