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City firms worth billions meet in London to push gay rights

City firms worth billions meet in London to push gay rights

Chief executives from some of the world’s most powerful firms will bring a taste of Wall Street to London next week for a summit on gay equality.

The Out on the Street event started in New York to allow senior business leaders to boost their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender diversity.

Now it’s coming to the City of London on Tuesday (13 November), the other financial capital of the world.

The Out on the Street: Europe Leadership Summit will gather senior leaders from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, KKR, KPMG, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

They will discuss how the financial services industry can advance gay, bi and trans equality.

Todd Sears, founder of Out on the Street, said: ‘When I created Out on the Street two years ago my primary objective was to leverage the collective power of the titans of financial services as an agent of change.

‘To date, we have already made an unprecedented impact by bringing together more than 600 senior business leaders – 70% of whom are managing director level or higher – and eleven member companies with more than $630 billion [€495million] in market capitalisation, in support of LGBT equality.’

Lord Browne, former group chief executive of BP and one of the UK’s top gay business people, will moderate a panel comprised of Paul Reed, CEO of integrated supply trading at BP; James Leigh-Pemberton head of Credit Suisse in the UK; Simon Collins, British chair of KPMG; and John Haley, boss of Towers Watson.

Browne said: ‘It is essential that business leaders make sure that LGBT people feel included in the workplace and not inadvertently excluded by thoughtless acts big and small.

‘We do need more role models. No one should underestimate the impact of having successful and openly gay people working at companies, particularly at a senior level.’

The London summit will be held at the global headquarters of the law firm Clifford Chance.

Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner at Clifford Chance, said: ‘The leadership shown by [Out on the Street’s] member organizations truly demonstrates the relevance of this approach for other industries.’

The summit will also look at how LGBT equality can boost business development and client relationships.

New research by Out on the Street and the Center for Talent Innovation about LGBT workers’ experiences around the world will be released.

And delegates will explore how LGBT talent moves around the world to get the best jobs.

Other topics will include the use ‘straight allies’ and women’s experiences in banking.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays, said: ‘By using the collective power of the financial services industry, we can accelerate the pace of change across the LGBT community.’

And Alex Wilmot-Sitwell of Bank of America Merrill Lynch said: ‘To us diversity means business. [It] together produces a more dynamic, innovative and ultimately successful team. Crucially, maintaining a diverse workforce allows us to better represent our clients, which in turn, allows us to serve them more effectively.’

Paralympian Claire Harvey, who represented Great Britain as part of the sitting volleyball team at London 2012 will be among the speakers due to her ‘day job’ at the Financial Services Authority.

Others taking part will include :

  • Bob Annibale, Citi
  • Brian Heyworth, HSBC
  • Claire Harvey, Great Britain Sitting Volleyball Team Paralympian and representing the Financial Services Authority
  • Christiane Macedo, Deutsche Bank
  • Dusko Markovic, Montenegro Minister of Justice and Human Rights
  • Jim McEleney, BNY Mellon
  • Colin Parry, UBS
  • Robert Souter, Morgan Stanley
  • Ben Summerskill, Stonewall UK
  • Ashok Vaswani, Barclays
  • Ralf-René Weingärtner, Directorate of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination – Council of Europe

Sears added the event will ‘inform our initiatives for 2013 both in Europe, as well as for our launch of Out on the Street: Asia’.

Out on the Street in New York included over 200 senior leaders from Wall Street this year.