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Pride Month: Working in financial services has given me friends for life – Lloyd-Hayward

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  • 24/06/2024
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Pride Month: Working in financial services has given me friends for life – Lloyd-Hayward
To mark and celebrate Pride Month, Mortgage Solutions is speaking to people in the mortgage and financial services sector who are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Mortgage Solutions spoke to William Lloyd-Hayward, group chief operating officer (COO) and managing director of Sirius Finance, about the advice that shaped who he is today and what he loves most about working in financial services. 

 

What is your favourite thing about working in financial services? 

Simple – the people. Working in financial services has led to me making friends for life. Our industry faces so much criticism at points from external markets, but for me, whether you are a broker, lender, solicitor, surveyor, network, adviser or anyone who is part of the financial services industry, we all play a major part in shaping the UK economy and the mobility of people in their own lives. To get the chance to play a small part in that with people I can call friends makes it my favourite thing. 

 

If you could give your younger self any words of wisdom, what would they be? 

Be bold and never stop. I have plenty of cautious bones in my body, but when I have been bold in my views, bold in my approach and bold in my action, sticking to my values, that is when I have had my most success. 

 

Who in the sector inspires you most? 

This is a difficult one for sure. There are so many people who I can look to for inspiration. 

I feel inspired when I hear Richard Rowntree at Paragon talk about his journey and the importance of social mobility and that there should be no barriers to success. 

I feel inspired when I hear Rob Jupp at Brightstar talk about his mental health journey and how that has helped to break down barriers as a result. 

I feel inspired when I hear Steve Seal at Bluestone share openly about his rise to lead that business and share openly his experiences as a gay man. 

I feel inspired when I hear Sidney Wager at Barclays talk about creating a legacy of diversity as he supports his team and the wider market to drive change. 

I feel inspired when I hear Louisa Sedgwick break down so many stereotypes and be a force for change and leading female role model for our sector. 

If I can achieve 1% of what these people have done, I will feel that I have made my own contribution to this industry. 

 

Who outside of the sector is your biggest inspiration? 

Two perspectives to this answer. Most importantly my parents, who taught me the values that I live by – being passionate about what you do, being kind and considerate, giving people a second chance and remembering those who help get us where we are. They have always inspired me to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Outside of them, my love of politics shows through when I have to say Barack Obama. Someone who showed not just the US but all of us that one person can make a difference and can bring about change. It inspired me to know that no matter how small we can feel sometimes in the world, we have the power to make the change we want to see happen. 

Importantly, my husband; I don’t need to share his journey in life, but I can tell you that he has inspired me since the first day I met him and continues to do so every day.

 

What has been your biggest career achievement? 

My biggest achievement has been my own personal progress, not one single event. I started out as the admin assistant in January 2012, and after a wide range of different roles was promoted to group COO in May 2021 and then added the additional role of managing director of Sirius Finance in November 2023. That came through a huge amount of faith and belief in me from people like Rob Jupp, but also from my own hard work and belief in myself, so I look at my journey as my biggest career achievement. 

Being part of the Mortgage Sleep Out organising team in 2018 raising over £110,000 and running the Alzheimer’s Charity Ball in 2022 and raising over £50,000 are pretty proud moments as well. 

 

What does true inclusivity mean or look like to you? 

That each and every one of us can live our lives free of hate, discrimination and prejudice and that we can all have the opportunity to achieve and succeed based on our own actions, decisions and efforts and not be held back by anything other than our will and desire to succeed.

Inclusivity means we can be who we truly are and that is just the norm. 

 

In what ways can companies or the sector as a whole do more to support the LGBTQIA+ community? 

Create an environment where you showcase to your staff that you are their ally, that no matter where they may be on their journey to understanding who they are, how they see themselves and maybe even who they love, that you as a firm will support them or provide them a contact to support them however they need. Companies can call out inherent bias and prejudice when they see it and show that supporting the LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t just happen during Pride, but it happens each and every day. 

 

What life lesson or advice helped shape who you are today? 

My parents always told me to respect and support others as you move through life and your career because you never know when you will need their support, or they need yours in the future. That has always shaped me to always try and treat everyone as an equal and with compassion. I might not always get that right, but I will live trying to do that. It’s important to live life. I know all too well how short life can be and how you can live with regrets, so try not to. 

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