The investment industry deals in ideas and customer issues, so diversity of thoughts is key Brendan Moran, Global Co-Head, Corporate Origination, Debt Capital Markets at Société Générale told WeAReTheCity recently.
Sharing why he is in support of the United Nation’s HeForShe campaign Moran said: “In investment banking we deal in ideas – how to solve customers’ issues . This requires diversity of ideas and diversity of thoughts. It is important to have this in place for a viable, sustainable and growing business going forward.
“Having diversity of opinions and skills is absolutely key.”
He noted that the sector has previously run into problems due to teams that were too similar in their way of thinking: “The investment banking industry has a history of not being very diverse. It has a history of being very monochrome, with a similar way and approach in everything. The industry was forced to admit its shortcomings during the financial crisis. Everyone was the same – steaming off a cliff with no one throwing out the anchor.”
“Diversity does not just mean gender and ethnicities, it also means different cultures and nationalities – all of which, can bring a wealth of ideas and approaches to a team.”
Société Générale has close to 150,000 employees, comprised of 122 nationalities in 76 countries. Women make up 60% of the company’s staff worldwide with 42.8% of its Board of Directors being female. In 2014, 44% of Group managers were women.
Moran is a father of two young daughters and explained how this spurs his passion for driving diversity at the company.
“I don’t want my daughters to be part of a society where barriers or discrimination are put in their way as a result of gender,” he added.
“My wife also has a successful background in investment banking, but she took on the real hard work of being there for our daughters. For my part, I would’ve loved to have spent more time in those magical first days of having a child. So I try and make sure I am around as much as possible.
I have taken my girls to lots of rugby games over the years –but I recall on several occasions it was my wifewho challenged me on staying for the women’s matches too.”
Société Générale has a women’s network which was recently rebranded as Equilibrium to ensure the network appeals to men as well as women.
Moran said the gender debate is “a man’s issue too. The narrative has changed, I think it’s now seen that men are part of the solution, rather than the problem.
I will be there during the Christmas period to see my daughter singing in the Christmas concert. I think that tThe more senior executives, especially men, who do this, the more that will follow. I had some enlightened bosses along the way who told me that at the end of your days you won’t be wishing that you’d spent more time at the office.”
According to Moran the investment banking industry could do more to showcase the reasons why the sector would be a good career move for a woman: “What are the drivers for women to work in this industry? Being flexible, working part time, etc. Everyone knows that no two customers are alike, but we haven’t taken the same approach with talent. It has only dawned on companies in the last few years that they need to tailor their approach for different candidates.
“Change will happen – It’s a marathon not a sprint.”