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Paragon Bank one of 12 founding partners to launch new membership body – Progress Together

Richard Rowntree hero.jpg

Paragon Bank is proud to announce it is one of 12 founding partners of Progress Together, a new, nationwide membership body focused on improving socio-economic diversity at senior levels in the financial services sector.

Progress Together was launched today at Mansion House, London, hosted by Lord Mayor of London Vincent Keaveny with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Minister John Glen. The event was attended by Paragon Bank Managing Director of Mortgages Richard Rowntree.

The body launches as a survey of nearly 10,000 people from 50 financial and professional services firms found that employees from non-professional backgrounds are 30% less likely to be working at a senior level compared with colleagues from professional backgrounds (defined by parental occupation at 14).

Progress Together builds on hundreds of hours of roundtables, interviews and extensive research, including an earlier Bridge Group report which showed that:

  • 89% of senior roles in financial services are held by people from higher socio-economic backgrounds (defined by parental occupation at 14) compared with 37% across the UK working population
  • Employees from lower socio-economic backgrounds progress 25% slower than peers, with no link to performance
  • The class pay gap in FPS is £17.5k, the largest by sector

Paragon will collaborate with partners from across the financial services industry so Progress Together can understand how much these findings affect organisational and sector-wide productivity. In turn, this will enable the body to support talented people to progress, regardless of background, and enable the UK to remain a global competitor.

Richard Rowntree, Managing Director, Mortgages, said: “We are thrilled to be launching Progress Together and proud to be one of the 12 founding members. Improving socio-economic diversity within financial services is an important area for me personally and professionally and creating an even playing field aligns with Paragon’s core values.

“There are too many talented people in the financial services sector that fail to reach senior levels, which is a detriment to the individual firms and the sector as a whole. As an industry we have to change this.”

Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce, said: “Progress Together continues the important work of the Government commissioned Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce. Established in 2020, the independent taskforce is run by the City of London Corporation and exists to boost productivity and levelling up opportunities.

“The taskforce conducted hundreds of hours of roundtables and interviews as well as extensive research to identify what steps could help improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels in the sector. The launch of Progress Together will advance our vision of a sector where performance is valued over ‘fit’ and ‘polish’.”

Other organisations founder members of Progress Together include:

  • Accenture
  • Allen and Overy
  • Aviva
  • Axa Health
  • City of London Corporation
  • EY
  • Fidelity International
  • Man Group
  • PwC
  • Santander
  • Schroders

For further information contact:

Annette Coyle
Media Relations Executive
Tel: 0345 849 4003


Notes to editors:

The body is open to UK financial services employers of all sizes, at any point on their socio-economic diversity journey. Please visit www.progresstogether.co.uk to join the body and access support in boosting socio-economic diversity at the top. #WhoGetsAhead.

Paragon is a leading provider of buy-to-let mortgages for landlords with property portfolios, both big and small, through its portfolio and non-portfolio range.

Paragon lends to private individuals and limited companies and has mortgages suitable for single, self-contained properties, as well as HMOs and multi-unit blocks. Paragon can accommodate higher aggregate lending limits and more complex letting arrangements including local authority leases and corporate leases along with standard ASTs.

Paragon introduced its first product aimed at the professional property investor in 1995 and is a member of UK Finance, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). 

Paragon Bank PLC a subsidiary of the Paragon Banking Group PLC which is a FTSE 250 company based in Solihull in the West Midlands. Established in 1985, Paragon Banking Group PLC has over £12 billion of assets under management and manages over 450,000 customer accounts.

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551.