Senior vice president and director at Franklin Templeton Paul Brady speaks to Mike Sheen about his experience as an openly gay man working in the City, and how he is helping to spearhead his firm's LGBT+ and wider diversity efforts.
Paul Brady serves as a board member and director for Franklin Templeton's UK operations.
But over the past three years he has taken it upon himself to represent LGBT+ issues at board level, while also championing broader initiatives by serving as the firm's UK diversity champion.
Brady believes the visibility of LGBT+ senior executives is vital in achieving cultural change in investment management and the City more widely.
However, he acknowledges that doing so requires some personal sacrifice.
Why was it important for you to take on new responsibilities to champion diversity initiatives at Franklin Templeton?
Following some engagement with Stonewall I went on a programme to be an executive leader and an out gay leader, and sort of self-created the role.
It is about bringing a senior focus to diversity and inclusion, it is about demonstrating that the board is interested in participating in diversity and inclusion, and it is about having a senior champion with visibility across all strands of diversity, not just LGBT.
My job is really to be a visible role model champion, to be a voice in the board to say, 'this is where we are going', and asking my colleagues to engage with me.
Visibility has become an important key word in all discussions on diversity. Why is it so pivotal in what you are hoping to achieve?
One of our challenges at Franklin Templeton was that, although we always had exceptional policy, we did not have visibility, and we did not talk about it.
I think it is important for senior LGBT employees to be visible. It is a matter of personal conscience.
I have always believed Franklin was a supportive employer. But it took a while for me to personally realise that I had an obligation to be visible in the workplace.
So I think the courage to take that step is very important. I do not know if me being a visible role model has significantly changed people's impressions in this organisation, but I do know that I am more comfortable in the workplace.
People know about my husband and ask me about my husband in a way that makes it a very comfortable place to work.
Your career in investment management and the City spans nearly 20 years - have you noticed attitudes towards the LGBT+ community change in that time?
It has changed immensely. I have been in the City since the late 1980s - when I started, there were no gay people in the City. It did not exist.
If you look now there is visibility for LGBT employees everywhere. Where there is a lack of visibility is for senior role models. It is that senior role model that makes the difference.
How does investment management measure up in that respect?
I think investment management in particular has been behind. There are efforts through the Diversity Project, through Interinvest, and the Investment Association is pushing inclusion in the workplace, particularly in LGBT.
So while I think the whole industry is shifting its approach, I cannot claim discrimination vanished overnight. But there is a commitment for many, many firms to participate, to have inclusive practice.
We need allies too - we need to engage everybody in the City. It is not a female issue. It is not a gay issue. It is actually a wider, proactive approach to inclusion across all strands.