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The Equity Builder: Fidelity International’s Carol Fergus

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2021 BP - Carol Fergus

Fidelity International director of global travel, meetings and ground transportation Carol Fergus is a founding member of the diversity, equity and inclusion committees for both the Travel & Meetings Society and the Global Business Travel Association. She created documentation on how to begin conversations within corporate travel around DE&I and has led by example in implementing more inclusive travel programs. She created with her travel management company partner BCD Travel an apprenticeship program that can serve as a model for how TMC-client partnerships can bring more diversity into the managed travel space. 

How did you get involved with the GBTA and TAMS DE&I committees?

I was already on the European advisory board, and there was a discussion around setting up DE&I as a global venture for GBTA. I [got] engaged in one of the strands, which is race and culture. TAMS is a similar thing. It was a no-brainer. DE&I is a real passion for me. I feel that as many platforms that I can have to bang that drum, the better.

What did you find lacking in your own company’s DE&I program?

I think the company has done a hell of a lot, so I don’t think that it’s lacking. I would ask, ‘Is [the communication] still getting to the right people we are meant to be championing, and is it resonating in the right way?’

What would your answer be?

We are not there yet, but it is a long journey. People still have that fear factor and that uncomfortable feeling of talking about certain subjects, especially when it comes to things like race, mental health, etc. A lot has changed. The conversations have started, but we have a long way to go. We need to find ways to get people to open up more, and to demonstrate more that differences are being made as opposed to talking about it. 

What was your motivation for the apprenticeship?

It falls in line with the stop talking and [more] doing. It was easy to do and was a small thing that had massive impact. It was giving opportunity to minority groups that weren’t graduates. But we have to show the possibilities. By working with our supply chain, it was an opportunity for them to give roles, tasks, education and development in their organizations [while we] give them the funding and support to allow them to do that, to identify people applying from minority groups and give them the career path that they wouldn’t necessarily believe they could do by themselves. 


A lot has changed. The conversations have started, but we have a long way to go. We need to find ways to get people to open up more, and to demonstrate more that differences are being made as opposed to talking about it.”


The program is new, but have you thought about how to evolve it? 

I’d like to work with people in the industry, show them the structure, how it works and have them replicate it, so when they have discussions with their clients and other businesses, instead of just talking about the resources they need to bring in to support that client, also include this DE&I apprenticeship piece. Say, ‘Have you considered having something whereby you are giving development, learning and training to a young adult from a minority group?’ They should build it into the discussions. When they go out to tender a [request for proposal], put that in as a request. 

What advice do you have for others who want to follow your lead?

A, speak to me about the structure. It’s very simple, and I’m happy to share. B, if they don’t want to do that, the method is very easy. Follow it and have the conversations with your suppliers. Look at their career path, their development, do they have a DE&I ethos. [They each] will be able to give opportunity to a young adult from a minority group. [Tell them,] ‘We already have an apprenticeship scheme in place, we’d like to work with you with regards to bringing those people in so that they can be part of your team.’ Start those conversations. 



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Saudi Arabia’s Most admired Companies in 2022

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Insights Success is an archway that caters to Entrepreneurs’ quench of technology and business updates which are currently ruling the business world.
We are ceaselessly proving the best platform for leading companies, which aids indefinite progress while creating meaningful learning experiences for the visitors and invaluable brand awareness for the clients.



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Bank of England raises base interest rate to 1.75%

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The Bank of England has raised the base interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.75 per cent, the biggest rise since 1995, in an attempt to combat runaway inflation.

The nine-strong monetary policy committee voted eight to one in favour of a 50 basis point rise, defying some market expectations for an increase by 25 basis points.

It is the Bank’s sixth consecutive tightening in monetary policy and follows in the footsteps of the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, which have begun aggressively raising rates by larger increments.

Interest rates are now the highest since 2009 as the Bank attempts to bring down inflation, which is running at a 40-year high of 9.4 per cent and is on course to exceed 11 per cent later this year.

These would be the worst inflation rates in the G7, caused in large part by rising global energy prices driving household bills higher this year. The UK economy is also heading for a slowdown this year as consumer incomes are squeezed more tightly than since the 1950s.

Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s governor, has hinted that it will also announce how it intends to begin unwinding the £850 billion of government debt pumped into the economy since the financial crisis, offloading bonds worth between £50 billion and £100 billion from as early as next month.

The Bank will also deliver its quarterly outlook, with Bailey expected to forecast that inflation will rise beyond 11 per cent and remain in double digits into next year. The Bank’s target is 2 per cent.

Commenting on today’s Bank of England interest rate rise, David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “This rise is the clearest signal yet of the Bank of England’s intention to get inflation under control. Spiralling prices are cited by businesses as by far and away the top concern right now.

“However, given the extremely precarious state of the economy, this decision is not without risk for businesses and consumers that are exposed to banking or overdraft facilities.

“There are many causes of the current inflation crisis – global supply chain problems, trade barriers, soaring energy costs, increased taxes, and labour market shortages. Interest rate rises alone will do little to address these.

“Worryingly, our research indicates strongly that most small businesses are not investing for growth, and that longer-term confidence is beginning to wane.





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Opinion: OSC appointment fuss is a tempest in a teapot

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Jeffrey MacIntosh: The government has the legislated right to have a say in the agency’s course

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Ed Waitzer’s recent op-ed (“The issue at the OSC is integrity, not debate,” July 14, 2022) expresses surprise and disappointment in my recent op-ed (“Conflict at the OSC: Why the regulator needs to make room for dissent,” July 7, 2022). In that op-ed, I argued that lawyer Heather Zordel’s appointment as non-executive chair of the OSC in March of this year should be met with open arms, as it introduces new points of view into what seems to be a rather intellectually closed shop. I don’t suppose it will come as a shock to Ed Waitzer or anyone else that I am surprised and disappointed at his rebuttal.

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To begin with, it contains a number of inaccuracies. It states that Ms. Zordel was denied reappointment to her earlier position (2019-2021) as part-time commissioner. In fact, given her busy legal practice, she took herself out of the running. This puts a rather different complexion on the matter.

And I never stated or implied that Ms. Zordel was not reappointed as part-time commissioner because of two dissenting opinions that she wrote as commissioner. My point was that for Ms. Zordel’s critics the dissents were a factor in opposing her appointment as chair of the board.

The nub of my argument was that the OSC could benefit from greater variety of viewpoints among its brass as to what investor protection and other aspects of the OSC’s mission entail. By contrast, Mr. Waitzer argues: “the importance of debate and dissent is not the point here.” I beg to differ. As I indicated, some prominent accounts of Ms. Zordel’s appointment have put a pejorative cast on her disagreements with her fellow commissioners. That puts the issue of debate and dissent front and centre.

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I certainly agree with Mr. Waitzer that the independence of administrative agencies is a cornerstone of our democracy. But does that mean that every administrative agency should be entirely divorced from any government oversight whatsoever — a little fiefdom unto itself and in no sense answerable to its political masters? Not a whit. It is the government that creates the agency, defines its mandate, gives it the powers that it needs to carry out that mandate and defines its organizational structure. And it is entirely within the purview of the government to enlist its legislative power to re-define that mandate, powers, and organizational structure if it chooses.

We don’t have to look into the distant past to find an example. On the advice of a non-partisan blue ribbon panel — the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce (“CMMT”) — the Conservative government has recently substantially reorganized the OSC via the Securities Commission Act, 2021 (declared in force in April). That legislation splits the adjudicative function (the “Capital Markets Tribunal”) from the regulatory function. Moreover, where before the reorganization the OSC Chair and CEO were the same person, the two offices are now split. As expressed by the CMMT, “The Board of Directors, led by the Chair, (will) focus on the strategic oversight and corporate governance of the regulator,” while “The CEO (will) be responsible for the overall management of the organization and execution of the OSC’s mandate.” The directors, including the chair, are all government appointees.

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This new structure, recommended by a non-partisan committee, gives the government of the day the power to influence, at the highest level, the strategic direction of the OSC. But why should it not? If the government is dissatisfied with the strategic vision or regulatory philosophy of the regulator or the manner in which it is being implemented, it would be profoundly anti-democratic — and at odds with the rule of law — to forbid the government from seeking to alter the agency’s course.

Indeed, the Ontario Securities Act states “The Commission is an agent of the Crown in right of Ontario.” The key word here is “agent.” It is not “hegemony,” “fiefdom” or “satrapy.” At the end of the day, the OSC is a government creation performing regulatory functions ceded to it by the government.

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Do Ms. Zordel’s conservative connections compromise the independence of the institution of which she is now head? Absolutely not. In the making of such appointments, the twin issues of competence and integrity will take up a lot of shelf space. But why should the government not also consider, if it chooses, whether potential nominees share the government’s regulatory philosophy

The true worry about political interference is that the government might attempt to dictate or influence the result of particular cases. But the new legislation builds in the important protection of ceding no operational powers to the board of directors. Thus, aside from the government’s power to approve or decline proposed rule changes (a longstanding feature of securities regulation), its sole discretionary avenue of influence lies in its power to appoint directors and hence influence high-level strategic direction.

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What is left of the argument that there has been inappropriate political interference over the OSC? Only the assertion that Ms. Zordel and three other part-time commissioners were appointed without the government having consulted the OSC, as has customarily been done. Yes, it would have been better if the government had consulted the OSC. In all likelihood, however, the outcome would have been the same. The OSC might not like not having been consulted but at best this is a foible not a fiasco.

In the end, this tempest easily fits within a standard-issue teapot.

Financial Post

Jeffrey MacIntosh is a professor of law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and a director of the Canadian Securities Exchange.

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