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#IWD2021: 7IM’s Verona Kenny highlights why she is excited to be part of the evolving financial services profession

Featured as part of our focus to celebrate International Women’s Day, Verona Kenny, Managing Director of Intermediary at 7IM, shares her thoughts with IFA Magazine on changes which are happening within 7IM’s business and the industry which she hopes will inspire the next generation of women making a career in financial services.

‘International Women’s Day’, should there be such as day? The short answer is yes because unfortunately financial services is still viewed as a male-dominated environment. But thankfully we are living in exciting times right now as we are at a turning point in our culture as gender equality is spoken about, highlighted and actioned.

So much is currently being talked about under the banner of ESG, gender equality forms part of the E and the G. A firm cannot be a good corporate citizen let alone wave the ESG banner if gender equality is not taken seriously.

Internally as a firm we have learned and evolved much over the past years, and we have more to do.  It is an exciting time to be at 7IM and be part of our evolving industry.

I want to be part of this change by supporting all people. I am a firm believer that it is hard work, knowledge and expertise that should be recognised and rewarded, in the past this may not have always been the case but we are building a time right now where this is changing.

How amazing is it that we are all working in such a great industry at this turning point where diversity and inclusion are no longer just words but are actions? Our industry will only become better if we embrace this change which I firmly believe we are at 7IM.

Culturally, we have gone through a huge transformation programme over the last 20 months, to ensure we continue to have a culture that is positive, inclusive and supportive of all colleagues. Some of the initiatives that have been implemented have been our family friendly policies such as changes to the maternity policy and to flexible working.

Flexible working has changed forever everywhere due to the pandemic, almost overnight. Firms had to adapt to a new environment in many ways. Teams were forced to work remotely, employing technology they had never used before. They had to completely rethink processes and procedures and do this whilst in many cases juggling a more complicated home life, home schooling anyone!.

I am very lucky to work with a talented team at 7IM, both female and male, who are striving to ensure that we have a diverse and inclusion team which makes our place a great place to work. I am Chair of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee and am genuinely excited about our plans and actions for 2021.

There is still a way to go in our industry but it is encouraging to see that this issue is being actioned by so many, particularly during the pandemic where the culture and governance of company practices became more important – just look at inflows into the ESG sector from investors.

Firms are continuing to make a genuine effort to bring their gender pay gap down and to promote key spokespeople to inspire the next generation of women making a career in financial services.

Having a robust governance structure in place makes these changes possible and if your firm is not stepping up to the plate and turning words into actions, you will soon be left behind in what is a rapidly evolving industry.

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