Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“Diverse groups of people are better at innovation and problem solving”
In February 2023, Velox Capital was awarded the Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion award at the 2022 Eurohedge Awards. Since becoming a standalone firm in 2018, we have worked hard to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, but it was nonetheless a surprise to be the recipient of such an important award at the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony. Unlike some of the industry’s larger players, our small (but growing) company does not have the same level of resource to invest in programmes that can address problems en masse. Instead, we chose to focus on what we felt was the right, fair and just approach to running each and every part of our business. Our maxim is that even a small positive impact is a worthwhile one.
Ethically, whether this is the right approach should need no explanation. The more disputed question is why it is the right thing to do for the business. Ensuring the sustainability of Velox is of upmost importance. The risk of missing opportunities or losing an edge is much higher in firms stagnated by overlearned behaviour and a natural inclination to take the inside view. Such flaws are often characterised by hiring in one’s own image - recruiting or retaining a certain type of individual based on bias (whether conscious or unconscious) on social status, schooling, nationality, culture or other. As established in David Epstein’s book entitled ‘Range’, an effective problem-solving culture is one that balances standard practice with forces that push in the opposite direction. Data, and how we integrate it, is a vital part of the Velox investment process. In an age where huge amounts of data are available to all who require it, more than ever “novel strategies… [are] key to sustainable competitive advantage”.
But don’t take my word for it. As referenced in the Harvard Business Review’s article on ‘Why Diverse Teams are Smarter’, a 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean. Furthermore, a 2018 BCG study surveying 1,700 companies of varying sizes and industries, and across 8 countries, found that companies with above-average diversity produced on average 45% of revenue from innovation versus just 26% from companies with below average diversity.
Can we then simply focus on our diversity to ensure the future of our business, ignoring equality and inclusion? No. Creating and maintaining an inclusive culture attracts, retains and gets the best from a diverse workforce. For an investment management company, people are both the largest cost and the largest resource, so why wouldn’t a company do its upmost to get the very best from them? At Velox we strive for cognitive diversity borne in a supportive environment of equality and inclusion. It is vitally important that we are all pursuing the same goal (regardless of differing views on how to achieve it). Everyone entirely clear on the company’s mission and how they can contribute to delivering it. Velox is a GC People Company, measuring people’s energy for impact and placing this at the centre of everything we do - reducing unconscious bias, enhancing collaboration and engagement, and much more. We have also implemented individual coaching for all team members, coming together twice a year at our company retreats to be coached as a team, gaining a deeper understanding of each other to better our chain of communication. Everyone has an impact, everyone is heard.
Despite all this, as Socrates famously stated, “all I know is that I know nothing”. There is plenty more for us to learn and to improve upon. We continue to strive to make those small positive impacts where we can.
 Gina Dokko, Professor at the University of California-Davis School of Management. Quote taken from Range, How Generalists Triumph in a Specilaised World: David Epstein  Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter: David Rock and Heidi Grant. Harvard Business Review