Tuesday 28 July 2020 2:04 pm

HSBC to 'at least double' black employees in its upper ranks

HSBC has reportedly told staff it will “at least double” the number of black employees in its upper ranks but said it will have to collect the data first.

In an internal memo first seen by the Guardian, chief executive Noel Quinn admitted that the bank’s failure to publish data on ethnicity had created a “feeling of mistrust” among black colleagues. He said HSBC would collect and release the information alongside its results next year.

Read more: Netflix to spend $100m on racial equality initiatives

The memo, seen by City A.M., states HSBC will work with headhunters to “engage” black and ethnic minorities for leadership roles and improve representation in mid-career roles.

Quinn said: “Black colleagues feel that HSBC has not been strong or vocal enough as an organisation on matters that concern them. They acknowledged that we have made clear commitments to promote a more diverse and inclusive culture, and spoken out on gender and LGBT+ equality, but that we have been relatively silent on other aspects of the D&I agenda.”

It comes after Lloyds pledged to “do more” to promote equality in response to the BLM movement. The lender acknowledged some groups were still “significantly under-represented” within its ranks. It said it was looking to increase the proportion of senior roles held by black employees fivefold by 2025.

Lloyds also said it would publish data on its ethnicity pay gap.

Quinn’s memo, which went out to employees last night, said: “The Black Lives Matter movement has rightly created more urgent demand for action.”

The movement that swept across the globe in the wake of the death of George Floyd has pushed racial diversity to the top of the agenda. Figures from Financial News released last week show just three out of more than 650 senior investment bankers in the City are black.

Read more: Equality is a business imperative, so let’s close the ethnicity pay gap

Of 11 investment banks in London, just Deutsche Bank and the Bank of America have black senior executives leading their dealmaking divisions.

Like HSBC, other FTSE 100 firms have been accused of dragging their feet on representation. Figures released earlier this year revealed more than a third of FTSE firms lack ethnic minority representation on their boards.

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