Simon Manwaring, Global Head of Foreign Exchange (FX) and Chair of the Global FX Division (GFXD) of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA) opened the first of its kind GFXD event “Next Step FX: Promoting Career Opportunities for Women in Foreign Exchange”.
The conference, organised in partnership with the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), brought together over 100 women and leading industry speakers to discuss how today’s FX market is creating opportunities for women to have a rewarding career in FX.
FX experts highlighted during two panel discussions mid to long-term industry trends and how they are driving new FX careers in areas such as sales, trading, operations, legal, analytics, technology and project management. They also spoke of their own experiences, agreeing that FX is no longer an “industry of trading floors”, but a sector, which has seen a big shift in conduct and culture and a much greater focus on customer needs requiring new talent with a different set of skills.
A structured networking reception in the afternoon gave the attendees a chance to have informal chats with FX leaders as well as get advice from HR professionals.
GFXD campaigns for a more diverse FX industry
“As an industry we should be striving to attract and develop the best people regardless of demographic, and this event was part of our effort to do so,” Simon Manwaring explains the motivation for the conference pilot.
“When we discussed the lack of diversity in our industry over the last 12 months there was wide acknowledgement across the GFXD board that we really needed to address the supply side of the problem. For too long banks have been striving to find ingenious ways to poach female talent from their peers and this is obviously a futile pursuit when it comes to addressing the bigger problem”, Simon points out, adding that the GFXD is committed to driving the diversity agenda within their own firms and across the FX industry.
“We hope to be able to organise similar events in New York and Singapore within a year to continue showcasing that the FX industry has evolved into a vastly more inclusive, diverse and dare I say it pleasant place to work,” Simon says, remembering his earlier years in the FX industry.
NatWest Markets boosts its diversity with a number of initiatives
For us at NatWest Markets inclusivity is not just a nice-to-have. We believe diversity is absolutely fundamental to reaching our full potential as people and as a business. In 2016 we launched an Inclusion Champions initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in every aspect of how we work and what we do. Our vibrant employee-led networks help to educate and drive the inclusion conversation, and we’re working towards a target of having women in 35% of our senior roles by 2020. In this context we also offer a paid, 12-week ‘Comeback’ programme for those of senior manager level who have been out of the world of work for two years or more who want to explore returning to work long-term.