BVCA Diversity in Private Equity & Venture Capital Series
The Black Lives Matter movement and protests around the world have been a reminder that the private equity and venture capital industry still has a long way to go to increase the representation and inclusion of people from a black and ethnic minority background, especially in senior roles. Our member code of conduct promotes the principles of equality and diversity, equal opportunities, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, and we remain committed to helping firms instigate change. We know that careers in this industry can be rewarding for all, but we also know that finding a position can be challenging. At a portfolio company level, diversity is not always present either. The BVCA is proud of our diversity series, which includes events for minorities in private equity and venture capital. This has highlighted the need for further action and so we will continue to have discussions with members, even if they are uncomfortable, and work with our partners and organisations on the actions that can lead to change.
The BVCA promotes the participation of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and of all ethnicities, genders and sexual orientation in the venture capital and private equity industry. This includes representation in investment and senior roles.
The BVCA supports the work of Level 20 and Diversity VC and the targets they have set for the industry.
HMT commissioned Alison Rose (CEO of Natwest) to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. The review shed renewed light on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses and identified ways of unlocking this untapped talent. The report (published in March 2019) and the Government response set out the steps being taken to help achieve the ambition of increasing the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030 (equivalent to nearly 600,000 additional female entrepreneurs).
The recommendations of the review are monitored by the Rose Review Board. The BVCA is a member of this board and this progress report from March 2020 highlights recent achievements. The BVCA, and a number of our members, are also members of the Rose Review Council. This group is working together to publish guidance and support the work of the review.
In February 2021, the Rose Review Council, in partnership with the Investing in Women Code (see below), Diversity VC and Diversio, published ‘’Guidance and best practice: examples for VCs and institutional investors’’, a document created by leading investors and professionals within the venture community as a resource to help drive greater diversity in across the investment industry. Further details are available in the press release here.
The Rose Review recommended that The Investing in Women Code be created and adopted which commits all financial institutions to the principles of gender equality and transparent reporting of gender funding data. Further details are available here along with the list of 70+ signatories, which includes many VC firms.
We have looked at our own governance arrangements to improve the representation of women on the BVCA Council (the board), Committees and Advisory Groups. The Governance section of our website includes the BVCA Governance Handbook and provides detail on our structure and our committees, including their composition.
The members of the Council, Committees and Advisory Groups are drawn from BVCA member firms and work together in their area of expertise to advise us on a voluntary basis. We would encourage women and men from all backgrounds to apply to join these to have a role in the BVCA’s governance and a voice on matters that impact the wider industry.
The BVCA’s Chair for 2020/21 is Neil MacDougall (Silverfleet Capital). Our Nominations Committee meets regularly to consider candidates for the Council and at present, five out of 12 (42%) Council members are women.
The BVCA has signed the Women in Finance Charter. This is a commitment by HM Treasury and over 300 signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair financial services industry. As the trade body for the UK venture capital and private equity industry, the BVCA has a leadership role to play in improving gender diversity in the industry and our activities are set out on this page.
The BVCA has pledged to promote gender diversity by:
Our target is to ensure that the proportion of women or men in the senior executive management team and the Council is at least 30%. Currently, 67% of the senior executive management team and 42% of the Council is female.
The BVCA is keen to support firms considering signing up to the Charter and please contact Gurpreet at email@example.com for more information.
We host regular face-to-face and digital networking breakfasts, forums, receptions and webinars for men and women, LGBT+ and minorities within the membership. These events are designed to be inclusive and provide a convivial and open environment to exchange experiences, share best practice, debate the issues in our industry and showcase what firms are doing to improve diversity and inclusion.
For further details, see our range of events focused on diversity. Given the importance of the diversity debate, everyone needs to be part of the conversation, so these events are open to all members. Feedback from attendees is captured in this video.
More broadly, we are committed to ensuring there is a diverse representation of speakers, including people from all backgrounds, at our events and especially our flagship conferences such as the Summit, High Growth Conference and National Dinner Series. If you are interested in speaking at one of our events, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In a drive for industry transparency, in March 2021 the BVCA and Level 20 have produced a new survey report looking at gender and, for the first time, ethnicity representation across private equity and venture capital. The report reveals some positive progress on gender diversity but indicates further improvements must still be made. In 2019 the BVCA and Level 20 worked together to identify female representation in Limited Partner organisations. In 2018 the BVCA and Level 20 published the first report on the number of women in the private equity industry. That followed the 2017 report with Diversity VC on the number of women in venture capital.
Our research provides a robust and valuable data set that highlights the lack of gender diversity in senior investment roles. The pipeline, however, is promising and we will continue to work with the industry to improve on these results over the coming years.
We were also delighted to join forces with the British Business Bank and Diversity VC to run an industry-wide initiative which built the first clear picture of the representation of women – and diversity more broadly – in the pipelines of UK venture capital firms, and how this corresponds to the deals that get done. Further information is available here.
The BVCA has a dedicated section on gender diversity in our academic research portal and this issue is on the agenda of our Research Advisory Group. For further information and if you have any suggestions for research, please contact email@example.com.
We need to do more to encourage women and men from all backgrounds to join and stay in the industry and this involves working with private equity and venture capital firms, universities and business schools. The BVCA is: spending time with the HR professionals within firms or those individuals with responsibility for people; promoting the issue to senior industry leaders; raising the profile of our events; and working with Level 20, Diversity VC and the other organisations listed below.
At the 2018 Breaking Barriers Forum we started a public online campaign to improve the perception of careers in the industry. We filmed sessions from the day and interviewed industry professionals for the following promotional videos that are for those individuals thinking about joining the industry.
Please feel free to share this content with your networks, including schools and universities. The BVCA would be delighted to speak at events or nominate people in the industry.
Our HR events are part of our peer networking series. Please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT GURPREET MANKU
+44 (0)20 7492 0400