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Generic business image for news article Image: Sophie Downes

07 June 2024
Canada
Reporter Sophie Downes

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CASLA: Industry needs to prioritise diversity in order to grow, say speakers

Progress in the industry is incumbent upon increasing diversity, say panellists at the Canadian Securities Lending Association鈥檚 (CASLA)14th annual conference.

In a panel discussion focused on client insights and perspectives, speakers agreed that more work is required to diversify the workforce in securities lending.

Using the turnout of the room as an example, Brittany Gallagher, director of operations at K2 & Associates, highlighted the necessity of increasing the number of women in the industry.

鈥淚t is the responsibility of larger institutions, but on a personal level, it is down to us,鈥 she explained.

Meanwhile, Kyle Kolasingh, head of Market Services Solutions at RBC Investor Services, argued that firms need to build a greater awareness of disability and accessibility, focusing on neurodiversity in particular.

鈥淚f you want the industry to continue to grow successfully, you have to focus on fostering talent and its sustainability. You cannot do this without acknowledging and incorporating diversity, equity and inclusivity goals in hiring practices,鈥 he argued.

Brendan Eccles, managing director, global head securities lending at Scotiabank, affirmed Kolasingh鈥檚 comments, arguing that this work was 鈥渋mperative鈥. He acknowledged, however, that few people in the industry had done that research, and that investment firms do not necessarily have the resources in place.

Elsewhere, speakers discussed the importance of adapting to market changes and optimising trading and investment strategies.

They discussed the need for understanding client perspectives, with panellists emphasising the more active roles clients are taking with their return strategies.

As one panellist argued, it is vital for clients to know what they are up against. He detailed the huge focus his firm is placing on increasing transparency across the securities lending chain.

鈥淔or us, it's about being nimble,鈥 he explained. 鈥淲e need to try to make sure that we have as many options across the street as possible when it comes to foreign stock or financing needs.鈥

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