ICAEW becomes first professional body to sign Black Talent Charter
17 December 2020: ICAEW has become the first professional body to sign up to a new City Charter which calls for more representation of Black professionals at senior levels.
As a signatory to the Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions, ICAEW has six months to create a five-year plan and establish targets to improve equality of opportunity for Black professionals working for the Institute.
ICAEW has also committed to looking beyond its employees to assess what more can be done to encourage Black representation on its committees and advisory groups.
The Black Talent Charter, which launched in October, was created and developed by Harry Matovu QC and Michael Eboda, the founder and CEO of Powerful Media. It aims to boost recruitment, career progression, retention and promotion of Black talent in the finance and professional services sectors. Signatories commit to producing measurable data that is publicly reported to assess progress and setting clear action plans to work towards ambitious targets.
Commenting on ICAEW’s commitment, Chief Executive Michael Izza said: “We are proud to be the first professional body to become full signatories to the Black Talent Charter and to strengthen our commitment to improving equality of opportunity for our Black colleagues and members.
“We are already taking action in this area, but we realise there is much more to do to meet the Charter’s aims and ambitions.”
Co-founder Harry Matovu called ICAEW’s decision to become a full signatory to the Charter for Black Talent is “fantastic news”.
“This is true leadership by example, continued Matovu. “We hope that accountancy firms of all sizes will quickly follow the lead given by ICAEW and two of our Founding Signatories, KPMG and PWC.
“We are very proud to welcome ICAEW as a signatory and Major Supporter of the Charter. There is a clear determination across finance and professional sectors to improve equality of opportunity for talented Black professionals, and a growing recognition that the Charter is a meaningful way to achieve this. This is a huge endorsement.”
Other signatories include accountancy firms KPMG and PwC and law firms Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Herbert Smith Freehills.
In addition to signing the Charter, ICAEW is also launching a Black Members Community alongside other actions identified through focus groups held with black members over the summer. David Franklin, Director of Communities at ICAEW said the focus groups had been useful in understanding the experience of Black people in accessing the profession and building their careers. “We know from those discussions how important it is to back up supportive statements on D&I with meaningful actions, such as the plan we will be committing to as a signatory for the Charter.”
According to the 2011 census, 8.5% of people in London identified as Black or Mixed. However, Black people remain underrepresented at senior executive levels in financial institutions and across the professions. In February, the 2020 Parker Review criticised FTSE 100 companies for doing too little to address the lack of ethnic diversity at senior levels after admitting progress has been slower than hoped; 37% of FTSE 100 companies surveyed still have no ethnic minority representation on their boards.