When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive | Harvard Business Review

Starling Team

According to Harvard Business Review, a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries shows that gender diversity relates to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is viewed as “normatively” accepted. This study didn’t find evidence that firm performance led to diversity. In contrast, researchers found that diversity was a driver for success.

When people from different contexts work together perspectives leads to greater creativity.  However, this concept doesn’t work without psychological safety. People only contribute unique ideas when they feel comfortable enough to speak up. Experimental studies also support this, showing that psychological safety is key.

When we don’t value women equally, they don’t feel psychologically safe. This means they aren’t speaking up and sharing innoviate ideas in their organizations.

In case you missed it, check out our founder or CEO, Stephen Scott’s piece: Is the Future of Finance Female?

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ESG Investing Sparks Race in Tech and Hiring at Asset Managers | Financial Times

Starling Team

According to data from Cerulli Associates, investors under 40 are more interested in ESG investing than older peers. More than 2/3 of investors under 30 prefer that their investments have a positive social or environmental impact.

“We are seeing more and more clients looking to have a social impact beyond just purely financial returns with their investments. The mood music is changing,” comments Peter Harrison, chief executive of Schroders.

For many asset managers, incorporating ESG into wider investment decisions is increasingly important — a process most refer to as “ESG integration”. Now, asset managers invest in technology and create their own scoring systems to gain advantage.

Increasing attention on “culture and conduct risk” in many sectors, finance and banking perhaps most of all, has driven more demand for technology tools to address these governance challenges. Getting data driven insights can help transform those held back by culture or conduct related risks.

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Allianz Slapped with New Capital Requirements over Risk Governance | Financial Review

Starling Team

Allianz SE will now have to set aside an additional A$250 million as a result of its risk governance self-assessment, according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Allianz joins Australia’s four biggest banks which also been slapped with additonal requirements until they strengthen risk management. In case you missed it, Starling founder and CEO, Stephen Scott recently covered regulatory trends topic in an article for Regulation Asia. You can find it here.

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KPMG Ousts Head of UK Consulting Unit After Conduct Probe | Financial Times

Starling Team

According to the Financial Times, KPMG has forced out the head of one of its core businesses in Britain after an investigation into his conduct involving messages sent on WhatsApp. This dismissal comes as KPMG is working to restore its reputation following a series of unrelated scandals which also involve various allegations of misconduct.

In a statement, KPMG said: “We hold all of our people to a very high standard and take swift and appropriate action against any individual whose behaviour contravenes the firm’s values. As part of this commitment, we can confirm conduct issues have been raised related to a partner and, following an internal investigation and disciplinary panel, that partner has left the firm. Under our process the partner has appealed.”

Misconduct issues are increasingly prevalent in every industry. Consultancies and advisory firms may expect to receive the same kind of scrutiny regarding their cultures as we’ve seen in the banking sector in recent years. As advisors to others who struggle to address the challenges posed by culture and conduct-related risks, KPMG has an opportunity to demonstrate the value of it’s own capabilities in this regard by first being seen to take their own medicine — with demonstrably successful outcomes.

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Socgen’s Chief Culture and Conduct Officer on Cultural Transformation & Trust | Thomson Reuters

Starling Team

Nancy Harrington Jones is the first person at Societe Generale to be named Chief Culture & Conduct Officer. The New York Federal Reserve Bank has convened conference events over the last several years, bringing together bank executives and regulators from across the globe, to discuss needed efforts to reform culture and behavioral tendencies in the banking sector. After participating in those discussions, SocGen decided to create this new non-financial risk management function. Harrington Jones describes her role as leading cultural change in the bank’s approach to governance, risk and compliance, with a shift away from the industry’s typical focus on processes and systems to place more emphasis on people and the dynamics among them.

Two key areas of focus for SocGen are:

“Do we have our environment set up to exhibit the best behaviors?”

“Do employees feel comfortable speaking up without fear or penalty when questionable behavior is observed?”

In this context, Harrington Jones says that she attends most closely to indicators of trust among employees. She is absolutely right to do so. In our own work with global banks seeking to optimize their Three Lines of Defense, this trust element has been demonstrably critical. Peering into those trust dynamics through AI and data analytics tools affords them a real-time gauge by which to judge their success in these optimization efforts. And such tools enable on-the-go course correction when needed.

For Harrington Jones, the biggest indicator of success is, “Finding out about events, situations, or decisions before they blow up, regulators discover them, or the auditors come to us.”

Her awareness of the importance of trust as a key driver of such happy outcomes marks Harrington Jones as particularly insightful — such an awareness is not always found among her peers at other firms. They may benefit by keeping an eye on her.To get more insight on this topic, you can click here to read about Stephen Scott’s presentation at the NY Fed conference.

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