Customer Due Diligence

How to create effective customer due diligence for banks and increase profitability

Onboarding is a crucial stage in every customer journey, and customer due diligence for banks is a vital component of the onboarding process.


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Current Affairs

How to protect your clients from underinsurance

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Ashleigh Gwilliam

How to protect your clients from underinsurance

Underinsurance is one of the most significant issues facing the insurance industry in 2023. As a potential risk to your clients and your brokerage’s reputation, It’s something that should be easily identified by risk-based monitoring and commercial insurance risk management audits; however, as widespread as underinsurance is, it can still go overlooked due to a number of factors.

And with clients becoming ever more savvy when it comes to reviewing and approaching brokers, it’s more important than ever to reduce or eliminate the risk of underinsurance.

But how does your brokerage identify and tackle underinsurance? How do you find out which of your clients are underinsured so that you can take steps to fix it? Let’s take a look at just how you can - and should - review your insurance portfolio to protect yourself, and your customers.

Why is underinsurance suddenly such a problem?

Underinsurance has always been an issue for brokers because of the issues it can cause for your customers. But now, more and more external factors are compounding the issue. Firstly, there’s the general economic situation. With double-digit inflation, the sum insured payable when claiming on a policy simply doesn’t stretch as far as it once did.

Add on the rising costs of rebuild materials, businesses cutting back on premiums in an attempt to conserve much needed funds, and the perennial issue of customers not giving insurers accurate information at the underwriting stage and it’s easy to see why accurate underwriting and risk analysis is a bigger problem than ever before.

The effects of underinsurance are clear to see and have a far-reaching impact. Imagine one of your customers suffering fire or flood damage to their place of business and thinking they’re fully covered; however, what they didn’t do is inform you about the valuable new equipment they’d invested in. This may now mean that their sum insured isn’t enough to cover the higher cost to get them back up and running.

That’s going to damage your relationship with the client, and potentially your reputation. But that’s not all.

As well as your customer being unhappy with your informing them they are underinsured at a time of great stress and upheaval, they run the real risk of going out of business if their rebuild costs are too high and their policy only covers a portion of this outlay. You’ll lose the client, and with reputation damage compounding the issue, you’ll find it hard to find new customers to replace them.

The good thing to take away is that there is a way to minimise the risk of this happening. It’s time to take commercial insurance risk management seriously and look at ways to reduce the threat of underinsurance.

In the next three steps, we’ll show you how.

Step One: Regularly review your portfolio and the general market

As we’ve discussed, the risks of underinsurance to both your customers and your brokerage are very real, and can have lasting, damaging effects. If you wait until a customer makes a claim to realise that they aren’t insured for the correct amount, it’s far too late.

On the flip side, if you can ensure clients are always fully covered, and provide them with the right advice before any claims are made, a great proportion of this risk will be eliminated entirely. Lower risks mean happier, better protected clients, who in turn are more likely to work with and recommend your brokerage.

To do this, the first thing to do is review your mindset. Instead of offering reactive advice - “this has happened, here’s what to do,” you should offer more proactive advice - “this is what may happen, here’s how to prevent it.” As a respected broker, you’re probably already doing that but you can never have too much information about the industry and your customers during a hard market.

Fully proactive advice means spotting potential issues before they affect the client and that’s where better risk-based monitoring comes in. Constant review of the market and how this relates to your clients is the order of the day. By understanding your customers and impending changes in the market using CLI tools and other methods, you’ll be well aware of what’s ahead.

Once you’ve settled on a proactive commercial insurance risk management approach, you need to know how to deliver it. And that means improving your analytical processes.

Step Two: Analyse your portfolio for signs of underinsurance

There are a wide range of analytical tools and techniques you can use - many of them available from FullCircl - but before you invest in a single tool, there’s an incredibly simple way you can start your analysis.

Pick up the phone and ask.

Regularly speaking to your clients about their cover, and new investments into their business, means you’ll be well placed to advise them if they’re underinsured. It’s all about understanding your customers, their needs, and their insurance requirements so that you can mitigate risk on their behalf.

That’s not all you’ll need to understand.

You need to be well versed in the insurance industry as a whole and have an in-depth understanding of the current moving parts in each sector of the industry, so that you can identify potential issues and move quickly to safeguard your clients. The best way to do that is by ensuring you’re always up to date with what’s happening in their world by conducting regular data analysis and setting up alerts.

Once you’re fully informed about your customers' situations and the industry as a whole, you can focus on carrying out an in-depth analysis of your portfolio.

This is where Customer Lifecycle Intelligence (CLI) tools come in useful. These tools make it easy to analyse the current value of cover for a specific customer against the future value of their assets, for example. If the former won’t cover the latter, you’ll be made aware ahead of time so that you can bring it up with your clients. They’ll be able to adjust their cover to protect their business - and your brokerage - from the consequences of underinsurance.

The more data you can gather from your proactive outlook and analytical tools, the more aware you’ll be.

This leads us nicely onto step three, which details the benefits of getting ahead of your industry and key changes by becoming much more data aware.

Step Three: Become more data aware

Having the right mindset and the right tools are one thing. Committing to using them properly and becoming more data aware is what will really benefit your brokerage.

By being aware of - and increasingly familiar with - customer data, you’ll support your proactive outlook and know exactly how to constantly advise and protect your clients. With your grasp of data forewarning them about potential underinsurance risks, they’ll trust your advice more than ever.

Also, by being aware of industry data, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the risks and opportunities within your entire portfolio, prompting you to start the important conversations that lead to even deeper trust and much more organic growth.

All that combines to enhance your reputation as the kind of insurance broker who puts customer needs first. The kind who can see - and solve - problems before they arise.

That’s the kind of broker any client would like to work with.

How can FullCircl help you protect your clients against underinsurance?

FullCircl empowers your team with rich, contextualised company information on every business in the UK and Ireland. Information you can use for commercial insurance risk management purposes and to carry out deeper risk-based monitoring. With complete clarity on your market provided by sector specialism and vertical integration, you’ll always have the information - and the CLI tools - you need.

For more information and to start becoming more data aware, email

Current Affairs

What Does The Future of the Insurance Industry Look Like?

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Ashleigh Gwilliam

What Does The Future of the Insurance Industry Look Like?

For years, decades even, there’s been a predominant way that small insurance brokers become larger entities and that is by merging and acquiring. Two smaller brokers merge, acquire a third, and suddenly, in a few short months, they’re a much larger broker.

But is that model really sustainable in 2023 and beyond? Let’s explore the general market and some of the issues insurers are facing.

The entire insurance industry has seen no end of challenges and issues in recent years, and brokers are operating in a hard market. As you know, a hard market is where there is higher demand for insurance but a decreased appetite to provide that insurance, due to increased risk. On a national scale, issues including Brexit, pressures on the NHS, and skyrocketing inflation have all seen claims costs rise dramatically. The Royal Gazette reported on March 7th 2023 at the Bermuda Risk Summit that this is the hardest market the industry has seen for 50 years.

Globally, geopolitical tensions surrounding Russia and Ukraine, China and the USA are also causing prices to rise. And of course years of Covid-19 lockdowns continue to impact on the economy as a whole.

These are just issues that are already biting. In 2023, the entire insurance industry can expect to see regulatory challenges, further changes to working methods and changing customer behaviours, especially when it comes to digital products.

With all this to contend with, mergers and acquisitions can no longer be the key driver of growth for the insurance industry. Growth will need to be organic, and it’ll need to be steady but what does the future hold in this area?

What does the future hold for the insurance industry?

Throughout 2021 and 2022, even with the dual challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, the industry saw a heavy focus on mergers and acquisitions to acquire larger market share; however, in these earliest months of 2023, we’re seeing signs that times are changing.

Mergers and acquisitions have slowed, with organic growth seen as the low risk way to ensure success while meeting the year’s big challenges head on. In the US, mergers were down 8% in 2022 when compared to the figures for 2021 and, globally, things are set to be even more unpredictable in 2023.

Here are some of the challenges facing insurers in 2023:

  • Underinsurance: The first of these challenges is underinsurance. Spiralling materials and labour costs brought on by double-digit inflation, combined with a lack of consumer education on this issue, means that many customers may be unable to fund rebuilding costs with their existing policies.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions being less financially viable: The business valuation multipliers when calculating the value of a brokerage for sale have increased, due to the amount of M&A activity that has been happening in the sector. This means that it’s less commercially viable to acquire a new brokerage in the current financial climate.
  • High Customer Demands: Demand for the benefits provided by newer forms of InsurTech is a market disruption that can’t be solved by a merger unless a broker can find a partner who’s already invested in cutting-edge technology.

The only way to meet these challenges is with organic growth in the following ways:

  • Growth that is built around improving customer relationships and guiding them towards full coverage.
  • Growth that is built around understanding new customers and the risk exposure involved in covering them.
  • Growth built around the right data analysis tools and technology.

How can you stand strong against future changes in the insurance industry?

The best way to protect your brokerage from future challenges is by being big enough to tackle them. Growth is a great protection, as it minimises the amount of risk to which an individual customer will expose you, while giving you a solid enough footing to overcome any temporary setbacks.

Organic growth doesn’t happen automatically. There are three things you need to consider to help you stand strong against future challenges as your business grows:

  1. Know Your Business (KYB): KYB is crucial for safe growth. Firstly, you’re protected from risk as you’re aware of the individual circumstances of any client you bring on board. Secondly, a higher understanding means better service, happier clients, more recommendations and, ultimately, faster growth.   
  2. Customer Lifecycle Intelligence (CLI): CLI tools build upon what you’ve learned from your KYC efforts. As you work alongside a customer, you’re able to predict what the future holds for them, so you can make informed decisions to prevent underinsurance and lower risks even further - all while improving customer service.
  3. Data Awareness: Having the data from innovative InsurTech tools is one thing. Having a culture of data awareness is what will help your brokerage avoid or overcome challenges and set yourself up for organic growth in 2023 and beyond.

How becoming more data aware can benefit your brokerage

By being aware of customer data, you’ll be able to support your proactive outlook and constantly advise and protect your clients. With your grasp of data forewarning them about potential underinsurance risks, they’ll trust your services more than ever.

You’ll have increased awareness of key personnel changes at each of your customers - so it’ll be easy to maintain solid personal relationships even as your customers hire and fire. You’ll also be aware if a key member leaves and isn’t replaced - something that’s often a red flag situation.

Personnel changes won’t be the only red flag to look out for. Analysing the data will help you spot financial trouble or credit issues, meaning you can act quickly to either offer a client advice and support, or to plan for life without them - safely future-proofing your brokerage and ensuring growth isn’t hindered.

All of this combined will help enhance your reputation. By understanding your customers and building solid relationships, you’ll build a reputation as the kind of brokerage that puts customer needs first. A brokerage that can see - and solve - problems before they arise.

How can FullCircl help your business grow organically?

FullCircl provides unparalleled support and training to complement our Customer Lifecycle Intelligence platform.

Our tools empower brokers to enrich conversations with clients about their changing cover needs and any issues impeding growth, offering a cohesive method of doing this across your broker teams that helps prevent complaints, legal actions and FCA fines while aiding growth into 2023.

For more information and to start becoming more data aware, email

Risk Management

Six Challenges for Compliance Officers in 2023

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Lucy Huntley

Six Challenges for Compliance Officers in 2023

Challenges for compliance and risk officers in the finance sector are mounting, with the continued economic and geopolitical turmoil feeding a huge increase in regulatory requirements.

They also face a tough test in keeping up with changes to the sustainability landscape, employment law, and ongoing market disruptions.

We explore the six of the most pressing issues keeping compliance and risk officers awake at night.

Challenge 1: Mounting sanctions

Perhaps the most pressing challenge for compliance officers is another package of sanctions against Russian companies and individuals introduced in February. Complying with sanctions is extremely complex as it involves searching for often elusive information about companies and individuals worldwide and piecing together an intricate web of associations.

But the UK regulator continues to take a tough approach to breaches relating to sanctions or anti-money laundering (AML), and has already issued several multi-million pound fines against banks in 2023.

The compliance industry is responding with a concerted drive towards digitising and automating sanctions and AML activities. To remain competitive, finance firms need to keep investing in these solutions to increase efficiency and improve risk management.

Challenge 2: Mounting economic pressures

Ongoing political and economic pressures, rampant inflation, and war in Ukraine continue to increase complexity and volume of work for compliance and risk professionals. When these pressures will ease is uncertain.

In addition to sanctions, the 2022 UK Economic Crime Act is creating another huge compliance burden by strengthening anti-money laundering and law enforcement powers, and reforming Companies House. Banks must follow these regulations closely or risk huge fines.

Challenge 3: ESG and vulnerable customers

Risk and Compliance Officers are also challenged with managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk in strategy, credit decisions, risk management and reporting. The regulator is increasingly holding firms accountable for their ambitious ESG claims - such as around net zero greenhouse gas emission targets - and handing out significant fines for breaches. This tough approach will likely continue as the regulator looks to introduce anti-greenwashing rules in June 2023.

As double-digit inflation continues, the regulator also expects financial firms to support their vulnerable customers, and treat them fairly through the cost-of-living crisis. This will be a critical challenge for Compliance Officers as the government starts withdrawing some of its financial help for individuals.

Challenge 4: Cyberattack

Bank of England research shows 74% of respondents deemed a cyberattack to be the highest risk to the financial sector.

Since the start of the Ukraine invasion, there has also been a 81% increase in attacks. Ransomware, a type of malware, is repeatedly mentioned as the biggest threat, and other common types include phishing, advanced persistent threats (APTs), insider action, and denial of service attacks.

Alarmingly, only 48% of financial firms have a formal cybersecurity strategy, according to government figures.

The impact of a cyber attack can be devastating, so compliance and risk professionals need to keep focusing on strong cybersecurity across their businesses.

Challenge 5: Employment laws

There are potential compliance challenges in several upcoming updates to employment laws. Employers will need to proactively comply with the following laws…

Challenge 6: Market transformation

The Financial Services and Markets Bill will make wide-ranging changes to financial services regulation. It will implement recommendations from the Future Regulatory Framework Review in light of challenges such as Brexit and climate change.

The bill also seeks to regulate stablecoins, a type of cryptoasset, and protect access to cash.

Although it also aims to reduce some of the burden of EU legislation, the bill contains a wide range of measures that could increase workload and challenges for Compliance Officers in the short term.

How Compliance Officers can combat these challenges

Choosing technology

Finding the right technology partner can help your Risk and Compliance Officers combat these challenges.

To manage the regulatory burden, companies need to be more proactive and shift to digital processes. This includes perpetual offline know your customer (OKYC) - a revolutionary approach that removes reliance on periodic reviews and trigger events to meet compliance commitments.

Furthermore, a customer lifecycle intelligence (CLI) platform can enable companies to build a continuous compliance model that helps accelerate onboarding while reducing risk. This reduces reliance on reactive, error-prone manual compliance processes, which can be overwhelming without automation.

A CLI system enables Compliance Officers to automatically prioritise risky cases for review and direct remediation activity. Improved automation in areas such as referral categories, high-risk transaction identification, money mule management, and complex fraud ring identification helps you reduce false positives and manual referrals.

Frictionless journeys

Using external data intelligence to automate checks also supports a frictionless customer journey. For example, when customers self-declare items such as occupation, you can use social media such as LinkedIn for external identification to mitigate risk and streamline verification.

KYC/AML authentication processes are often fragmented, leading to duplication of data. A CLI platform can address fragmentation by providing a holistic perspective of risk trends and patterns across your portfolio. This allows you to automatically understand the impact of a policy change and identify emerging risks, such as exposure to Russia. It also lets you quickly identify second and third-degree connections for a 360° view of risk.

CLI data sits in a dashboard that is easy to use and interpret. It also uses risk scoring and machine learning to provide extra insights and maximise the value of your data.

How FullCircl can help address the challenges compliance officers face

FullCircl is a compliance game changer that goes beyond standard KYC and AML practices to perpetual OKYC.

It’s a CLI platform that allows you to overlay policies and risk appetite across trigger changes in your customer base. This enables you to prioritise remediation and deliver consistent decisions and efficiencies.

FullCircl’s CLI also uses automated data collection and checks, and connects data points to expose potential risks across networks of people and businesses.

The overall impact is to help you accelerate onboarding; rapidly reduce compliance challenges and financial risk; acquire validated customer data; and drive consistency and transparency. These factors help you increase customer conversion rates, lower cost to acquire, and improve customer profitability.

FullCircl includes an ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) API endpoint to connect the dots, helping you meet regulatory requirements – particularly for sanctions against Russia – and accelerate onboarding. FullCircl can also be enhanced with Premium Data extensions to address risk and compliance challenges in standard pre-onboarding checks. These include adverse director history; HMRC import and export data; international company data; and County Court judgements and legal notices.

Want to revolutionise your risk and compliance management in 2023? Contact FullCircl to discuss your needs.

Current Affairs

Regulation Update: Progress of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

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Justin Fitzpatrick

Regulation Update: Progress of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

Here’s what we’re excited about…

Following its progress through the House of Commons, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill (ECCTB) is now at committee stage in the House of Lords. The expectation is that the new legislation will receive royal assent by the summer.

Quick Recap - What is the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill?

As mentioned in our previous update, the ECCTB follows on from the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, which was passed in March 2022 in response to the Russia/Ukraine conflict and served to significantly simplify the process for imposing sanctions, identifying, and tracing illicit wealth, and preventing ‘oligarchs’ from seeking damages.  

The new ECCTB legislation aims to further strengthen the UK’s approach to tackling economic crime, including fraud, money laundering, corruption, and other forms of organised crime. The Bill also seeks to increase the transparency and accountability of the corporate sector, by strengthening the powers of Companies House and increasing the amount and availability of information companies provide to ensure they operate in a responsible and ethical manner. In this regard there are four key objectives:

  1. Ensure those required to deliver documents to Companies House do so, and that the requirements relating to proper delivery are complied with.
  2. Ensure documents delivered to Companies House contain all the information they are required to, and that the information provided is accurate.
  3. Minimise the risk of information on the register creating a false or misleading impression to members of the public.
  4. Minimise the extent to which companies and other firms carry out unlawful activities or facilitate the carrying out of unlawful activities by others.

Current progress of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

In the most recent session, held on 27th March, the committee approved amendments to the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 which would enable new regulations under the new ECCTB for imposing director disqualification sanctions on designated persons. This will also be complemented by approved amendments to the Directors Disqualification Act 1986, making it an offence under ECCTB for a person subject to sanctions to act as a company director.

In addition, the committee adopted amendments regarding the provision of requisite information to be provided by subscribers of registration of a company, and the delivery of documents to the registrar of companies - Companies House.

As the ECCTB progresses towards royal assent, here are three key things we are excited about:

Filing Exemptions:

The ECCTB makes provision for several Companies House filing exemptions to be removed. This means:

  • Companies with shares admitted to trading on a regulated market will now be required to file a confirmation statement.
  • Dormant companies with no significant accounting transactions will now be required to file accounts.
  • Small companies will be required to file a profit and loss account and a director’s report.
  • Certain community interest companies will now be required to file accounts and annual returns.

This is great news. With this additional information, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) can be risk screened a lot earlier by banks and financial service providers, allowing for more accurate decision making about which companies they wish to enter into relationships with, as well as the opportunity to onboard them faster and monitor their activities for better product and service matching and improved in-life customer experiences.

Director identity verification:

The ECCBT sets out that all new and existing directors of UK corporates will be required to verify their identity, and that this obligation extends to all current directors irrespective of the date they were appointed. Annual confirmation statements will be required to include evidence of each director’s identity having been accurately identified and verified. UK companies will also be required to ensure that no person acts as a director unless their identity has been verified and filed.

Director identity verification will make it much harder to register fictitious directors or beneficial owners, thereby reducing the ability for people to use Companies House to legitimise nefarious business activities. Banks and financial service providers will benefit from greater assurance that the people behind the companies are who they say they are, thereby helping them meet regulatory requirements when entering into new, and maintaining existing, customer relationships.

Shareholder Information:

The ECCTB makes provision for new requirements on shareholder information including:

  • Companies will be required to maintain a record of all individuals and entities with significant control over the company, and to file this information with Companies House.
  • The definition of “significant control” will be expanded to include not only those who hold more than 25% of company shares or voting rights, but also those who exercise influence or control over the company in other ways.
  • Companies will be required to update this information on a regular basis, and to notify Companies House of any changes to share ownership or voting rights information.
  • Companies will also be required to provide information on their Ultimate Beneficial owners, including names, date of birth and address information.

Again, this is great news. The current Persons of Significant Control Register is a little sloppy, requiring banks and financial service providers to rely upon probabilistic matching to identify shareholders, persons with voting rights, or those with influence over a company. This is made even more difficult thanks to increasingly complex corporate structures and fragmented ownership data, making it harder to assess risk and meet regulatory requirements.

Helpful tip: FullCircl recently launched a new product that helps connect the dots on corporate ownership by providing a complete view including Summary of Ownership, Persons of Significant Control, shareholder data, corporate family tree, subsidiary data, portfolio companies and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) data.  In addition, our UBO API endpoint is able to identify and throw back anomalies in ownership data.

What does this mean for banks and financial service providers today?

The transformation of Companies House from a passive library to a proactive gate keeper will not happen overnight. Realistically, it’s going to take considerable time for Companies House to manoeuvre through this, and we can likely expect a phased approach to both implementation and remediation.

Forewarned is forearmed, however. Staying ahead of ECCBT reform requires investment now. As the legislation progresses towards royal assent and reforms are rolled out, those able to achieve a greater focus on transparency and data quality will be ahead of the field and in position to take greatest advantage of the improvements the Bill delivers.

What does this mean for FullCircl customers?

We are excited about the ECCBT and the impact it will have in terms of greater transparency, accuracy, and reliability of data. After all, the more reliable the data, the more valuable our tools, applications and business logic become – helping our customers find customers that fit their risk profile, onboard them quicker and keep them for life.

Customer Lifecycle Intelligence is not static data - we deliver a multi-dimensional view that combines advanced data ingestion, validation, data matching, and augmentation with real-time media screening and more. All neatly delivered via web app or API.

Whether it’s automated data collection and critical checks, ensuring compliance, confidently targeting the right customers, or growing advocacy through frictionless onboarding and support, FullCircl is helping the UK’s leading banks and financial services providers do Better Business, Faster.

Get ahead of ECCBT reform

If you have questions about the potential impact of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill and how to prepare for it, or indeed if you have regulatory or compliance concerns that impact how you acquire, onboard, and serve customers - we would love to talk to you. Just email us at

Current Affairs

Supporting women in the finance industry

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Amy Musk

Supporting women in the finance industry

It’s a sad but true fact. We’ve looked at the numbers from FullCircl, and it proves it. Women aren’t represented at board level across the financial industry. 66% of banking boards are entirely male, and only 25% of life insurance companies have at least one woman on the board. Our industry’s still got a long, long way to go.

Finance is lagging behind other UK businesses. 40% of FTSE 100 firms have at least one woman on their boards, putting the UK second in the international rankings, but only 34% of financial firms have female representation at board level. Is that really good enough?

Our very own Amy Musk doesn’t think so. She thinks there’s room at the top table for even more women. And that we all need to do more to help women in the finance industry overcome the challenges they typically face. We agree.

Amy’s ideas haven’t sprung out of thin air. During her time at CEB (now part of Gartner), while heading DueDil’s customer success operations and now as FullCircl’s VP of growth, she’s spoken to women from across our industry and learned about some of the obstacles hindering women’s progress. And she’s seen the solutions.

Resilience. Confidence. Allyship. They’re what Amy believes will ensure that more and more women in the finance industry will take their rightful seats on boards across the UK.

Diverse boards are about more than quotas and box ticking

Helping more women in the finance industry climb to senior leadership roles isn’t about ticking boxes, or meeting quotas. It’s about ensuring talent finds its rightful place. And the numbers prove that.

FTSE 350 companies with at least one female board member reported an increased EBITDA of between 3% and 5% over a four-year period. Giving talent a chance to lead regardless of gender has real financial implications for businesses - alongside other factors like increased transparency, better accountability and more innovation.

The case for more women on finance industry boards is clear. Let talented women take their place, and success follows. But as clear as the evidence is, the finance industry is still lagging behind other sectors.

The finance sector underperforms on diversity

As you climb the seniority ladder, diversity decreases and that’s common across all industries, including for women in the finance industry.”

That’s what Amy’s observed over her career, and the data backs her up every step of the way. Dig into the numbers, and you find a consistently large gap between male and female director numbers across geographical regions and industry sectors in the UK.

As we’ve seen, some sectors see bigger gaps - finance among them - but some regional gaps are worse than others too. The highest concentration of female directors is in London, closely followed by south-east England, but as you head towards Northern Ireland or North-East England, the number of women at the board level drops significantly.

Amy has also identified a lack of funding for female-founded companies both in the UK and abroad. Less than 2% of US venture capital funding went to all-female founding teams in 2021, according to Pitchbook.

The difficulty women have in finding funding is always a talking point at any female-focused event. As Amy explains, when you attend events like Google Cloud Women in Fintech and FinServ 2023, you soon see just how obvious the gender gap is.

In a competitive sector, confidence is key

So why is the financial sector lagging behind the FTSE 100? Why do women in the finance industry find it harder to break through to the board level than in others?

The answer, Amy says, is clear. Finance is one of the most competitive industry sectors. Which means that getting ahead is all about maintaining and displaying confidence. Something supported by a process of allyship - finding supporters within your organisation.

I consistently see women with self-confidence issues and impostor syndrome. That impacts their ability to speak up and volunteer for tasks. Each person is unique and needs different methods to solve these issues. But building allies can help. If you feel like an impostor, speak to others about it – they probably feel the same.”

Impostor syndrome isn’t unique to women. Over 85% of UK employees say they feel inadequate. But women at the executive level believe they experience more self-doubt than their male counterparts.

Overcoming this isn’t a matter of just being more confident. It’s about finding the right support. Experiments by leadership development platform BetterUp showed having just one ally in a team can empower people and reduce the impact of impostor syndrome. If companies can promote ally behaviours, and coach all leaders to create a culture of allyship, then feelings of confidence will increase - meaning more leaders can reach their potential.

Yet according to the CIPD, only 10% of companies currently promote allyship. Fostering this kind of culture in your financial business will instantly give you an edge over 9 out of every 10 of your competitors.

Confidence is also an individual trait. While you should encourage allyship, it’s also important to foster confidence by helping female employees get involved in as many projects as possible early in their career. Finding hidden talents will develop confidence and resilience - both of which will pay off for your business in the long run.

Support women in the finance industry by using the multiplier effect

Cultural shifts are a good starting point, but financial businesses need to do more to close the gender gap. According to a Deloitte article, financial services firms need to take strategic actions in areas such as return-to-office work arrangements; and policies to support hiring, retention and promotion of women. Otherwise, they risk the gap between men and women in leadership roles widening.

Fortunately, there’s one thing businesses can do that’ll help more and more women in the finance industry rise to senior leadership roles.

Promote women to senior leadership roles.

It sounds obvious, but there’s a real factor at play here. For every woman in a company’s C-suite, three more women rise to senior leadership roles. It’s called the multiplier effect.

Female leadership is key here because, as Amy explains, improving diversity starts at the very top.

The first step is to start communicating about diversity across the organisation to create a culture of openness.”

Next, create a culture of diversity and inclusion (D&I) with ambitious goals. Then start measuring, for example, how many female candidates you have at applicant, acceptance and retention level; plus other areas such as gender pay gaps. When you have all the available data, start building initiatives to support your goals.”

By seeking out, hiring and promoting talented female candidates, you’ll improve your available talent pool, and begin to redress the gender gap at board level.

But ambitious goals are only part of the solution. You also need to make sure to take into account other pressures on your female employees. Something as seemingly minor as adopting more flexible working practices - as recommended by the CIPD’s Inclusion at Work 2022 report - means you’re more likely to retain talented women who often have to balance work and childcare.

Personnel changes need to be matched by cultural changes

If you’re serious about promoting gender diversity and benefiting from the improvements in performance that come from having more women at the board level, you need to support people at every level.

Your staff, of all genders, need to feel comfortable talking to each other about the common challenges they face. For women, these challenges include issues such as maternity leave, experiencing menopause, gender bias, and pay disparities.

I'm approaching motherhood,” says Amy. “That's scary as I've been on an upward career trajectory, but now I'm having to take time off. Talking to other women in the finance industry who have navigated maternity leave and returning to work is powerful.

But it’s not all about helping women talk to women, as Amy explains:

We also have to empower men to feel comfortable with conversations about issues such as maternity and menopause. We must build understanding that career paths are not always linear, they are squiggly, and that’s okay - it does not necessarily diminish the end goal.”

Creating a supportive atmosphere means you’re more likely to retain female leaders, and to support talented women as they rise to more senior roles. The financial industry needs to progress - with the right initiatives, the right culture, and by building something crucial:


The role of resilience for women in the finance industry

Financial businesses can help encourage greater diversity by supporting women in building resilience - a crucial issue that FullCircl tackled at our Women in Business Event on 25 April 2023.

The event brought together over 50 female leaders to discuss their career journeys and explain how they’ve helped to shape the future of our industry. Guest speaker Amanda Dennis explained how her focus on resilience has shaped her career as a finance leader, inspiring attendees to focus on building greater resilience across their whole teams.

Whatever decisions you take to build resilience in your teams, and to ensure you benefit from female leadership, make sure that you commit to following through with them. That’s a commitment we at FullCircl are proud to make.

Client Onboarding

Customer Spotlight: How Workfinder Uses FullCircl to Bring Innovative Companies and Skilled Talent Together

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Justin Fitzpatrick

The UK faces a skills crisis.  On one side companies are crying out for talent but on the other, the percentage of students accessing quality work experience is dismally low. But one innovative company is trailblazing innovation in the skills-based recruitment market thanks partly to its partnership with FullCircl - that company is Workfinder.

Forward thinking

In 2019, 16-year-old Maitri Panchal and serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu spotted an opportunity to make it easier for ambitious companies to attract talented young people while developing skills within their own workforce.  By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the platform ensures that companies' workforce matches their needs, allowing them to drive their growth and stay ahead of the competition.

Through its unique approach, Workfinder is helping to create a more efficient and effective job market, connecting the best talent with the best opportunities while simultaneously upskilling the workforce of the future.

Collaboration in action

FullCircl’s API is powering Workfinder’s solution with superior insights on companies and the people behind them - from growth metrics to deep-dive employer intelligence, and wider sector insights –new employers can be onboarded up to 100x faster without an onerous burden of self-declaration, and candidates can access enriched and reliable intelligence about the things that matter most to them when applying for a new opportunity.  This ensures that employers can be assured of more candidates that are not only matched to their needs but genuinely keen to progress - speeding up the time to recruit and improving outcomes for both parties.

“We have total belief in working in an ecosystem and understand that we must have strong partnerships to make the process slick for both candidates and employers.  But more than this, collaboration will ensure we achieve our ambition of becoming a big player in the skills-based recruitment market of the future.  FullCircl is not only a vital part of our infrastructure, allowing us to operate at speed and scale, but also a vital business partner on all counts”, says Michaela.

To find out more about the Workfinder use case and the impact a Customer Lifecycle Intelligence approach is having on the business, its candidates, and the companies it serves take a read of the full case study.

Every FullCircl customer has a unique story, so while you’re there why not check our stories from the likes of Metro Bank, BT Local Business, Santander, WTW, FC Manby Bowdler, Schroders Personal Wealth, or PIB Group, to name but a few.

Download Workfinder Case Study PDF


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