ROGER HIRST: In May 2020, the world was shocked by another instance of apparent police brutality, the murder of George Floyd. On this occasion, however, the outpouring of responses across social media showed that something had significantly shifted in terms of attitudes, the protests, the stories, the demands for change that we were seeing, one just aimed at the police or authorities.
Instead, they asked everyone, individuals, businesses, industries and institutions to take a long hard look at themselves, and acknowledge the centuries old inequalities, discrimination, lack of representation and issues that ethnic minorities faced, not just in America, but across the world. The UK quickly became one of the many countries under great scrutiny, and particularly its financial services industry. But why the focus on finance? Today, I'm joined by Michael Barrington Hibbert.
Michael, in the context of the last two years and this sea change that we've been getting, why has it been so much of a spotlight on the UK financial services in particular?
MICHAEL BARRINGTON-HIBBERT: That's a great question, and that it's debatable whether there has been a sea change. But what we're focused on in financial services, it talks about context. If we look at the UK population, it consists of 14% of ethnic minorities. And if we look at London as a microcosm, that rate increases to 40%. Take one aspect of our industry, fund management, 10% of that group consists of Asian, whereas only 1% consists of black professionals.
And if we drive down further and again, data is so important, because that drives contexts, and that drives action. But we look at fund management and we look at portfolio manager roles, out of 1000s and 1000s of portfolio managers in the United Kingdom, we were only able to find 14 black professionals running money across the United Kingdom, not percent, 14 black professionals. And that number, Roger, is disgraceful.
If we look at a recent 2021 survey, two out of three ethnic minority employees within financial services have felt discriminated against. Two out of three, Roger. Half of that number feel that their career progression has been limited by being an ethnic minority in financial services. Again, context is really important here.
ROGER HIRST: And when you look at, there's this concept around your profitability, there's a concept around commerciality, etc. But often people will say, okay, what we want to see is progress. And the way we see progress is through data through being able to actually say, look, we have seen this change, are we able to capture that? Are we able to say, okay, we're here we are two years on, and maybe in another three years' time? But there is more diversity, because we can see it in the numbers, who's actually getting that data and who's actually providing it?
MICHAEL BARRINGTON-HIBBERT: So, John Parker's review, which was commissioned a number of years ago, and the focus was to increase diversity within board level positions by 2023. As of earlier this year, 89 out of the FTSE 100 companies have delivered on this pledge. There has been progress from that standpoint. But we need greater clarity, we need a greater emphasis around ethnicity pay gap reports.
A number of organizations are still working on this, but a small to number have actually publicize those stats, Roger. And that's what we need to do. We need greater accountability from a data standpoint, and be able to hold organizations accountable for changing the dial.
ROGER HIRST: And that's interesting there, you talked about a small number of these big institutions. Again, it goes back to something you were talking about the commerciality and yet is a reason why only a small number are actually providing the data that goes along to show that there is this progress being made.
MICHAEL BARRINGTON-HIBBERT: I think it's through drives around culture. And I was sitting on a panel yesterday, discussing organizations and leaders being in a position where they can make mistakes. If you're the CEO of a FTSE 100 company or a NASDAQ listed company, you know one wrong step will shave off hundreds of millions, even billions of your share price. What we're seeing is a culture where leaders are not able to make mistakes.
As a consequence, if your data isn't fantastic, what are the consequences of that, Roger? What are the consequences are actually saying, actually, we're in a bad spot here? What's that going to do to shareholders? The reason why the US or some US firms have a competitive advantage, and we have to look at the intersectionality of the states. The US has a 40% population, which are ethnic minority. And it's going to quickly become the majority. You have an African American middle class.
Therefore, there is a pipeline of talent. There's a pipeline of talent, there are role models, there are CEOs, but the US has still had a long way to go. But contextually, if you then look at the UK, and you look at immigration, and the fact that Africans and those from the Caribbean only have been in the UK for 40, 50 years, and from a societal standpoint, it's very difficult to climb up that ladder.
What we're finding is that a lot number of organizations are starting from the ground up. I've mentioned to you previously off camera, that I'm the co-founder of 10,000 Black Interns. We created a program, which enabled diverse black talent, who don't necessarily all go to Russell Group universities, connect, get paid internships in order to increase that pipeline, but it's a multi-faceted approach that organization needs to take. It's around intake, it's around lateral, it's around retention.
ROGER HIRST: Lots of changes going on. Some progression being made. But where does that actually leave us now?
MICHAEL BARRINGTON-HIBBERT: I'm receiving so much feedback around diversity, fatigue. And I think it's really important to stress this, Roger, is that over the last two years, we've seen some really vocal allies. The founders of Real Vision, and many others, that really wanted to support this initiative going forward. This isn't about taking jobs from one group and giving it to the other. It's about leveling the playing field. So, what we're really emphasizing is being able to drive equality and opportunities for all.