Improving Profitability through Diversity and Inclusion: Q&A with Sumitra Moeller

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Executive Director of Financial Institutions, ABN AMRO UK. A key ambassador of diversity and inclusion.

Q1. What has motivated you to get involved in being an advocate for change?

The most compelling motivation is that Diversity is proven to improve the financial performance of businesses by up to 30%. Why does it do so? Diverse teams with different views have a better internal team dialogue and will make better decisions and  creating a diverse and inclusive environment also leads to the attraction and retention of the best talent - These are critical factors to the success of any business. 

Q2. Who inspires you?

People who persist against all odds and remain true to their own beliefs and principles.  And most importantly my two daughters, who inspire me every morning to see the world with a fresh perspective…even if it is through tired eyes!

Q3. Gender Diversity - do you think we, as an industry are asking the right questions?

I think we have set the ball rolling with the Gender Pay Gap disclosures and more powerfully these disclosures have evidenced the seniority gap in the sector. Firms are beginning to ask how they can close such gaps.

Q4. The financial services industry is traditionally perceived as a closed boys club, what are your thoughts on how women in the industry can break through such barriers?

I don’t think the onus is on women in the industry to change or to break down barriers. There are plenty of existing and upcoming high-performing, talented women in the industry, the focus needs to be on the industry ensuring it doesn’t lose that talent to other more diverse, profitable and exciting sectors.

Q5. What types of measures are you seeing being enforced in the industry to improve the sector’s diversity profile?

There are a wide range of measures out there – establishing diversity goals for businesses and creating accountability for the achievement of those goals; unconscious bias training; returnships; diversity schemes; sponsorship and development programmes; incorporating diversity in headhunter mandates; improving flexible working opportunities; mentoring; coaching.

Q6. What do you see in the future for women in banking?

I think the future is positive. As I mentioned, the variety of initiatives which are being implemented across the sector are at least evidence that there has been recognition of a problem and there is intent to solve it. Consistency and accountability will be critical to the success of proposed solutions.  

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