“At FD we believe that acting responsibly is key to delivering long-term success. It goes right to the heart of our values and culture as an organisation – for example, our people strategy, which is centred around health, fair rewards, diversity and inclusion, is critical to attract, develop and retain the best talent. As the Director appointed to ensure the views of our employees are taken into account, I am particularly conscious of the need to ensure we build on our strong record of engagement.
We are also acutely conscious of the importance of safeguarding the environment to protect our planet and we are committed to augmenting the efforts below to ensure we adopt best practices across the entire spectrum of our activities.
Delivering on these matters means developing and executing policies that empower and develop our people, ensure we operate responsibly, protect the environment and safeguard data.
These aims are baked into our operations through a range of policies that are set and monitored by the Board to ensure not just that we comply with the relevant legislation but that we go beyond that to assure all our stakeholders that we are acting with their long-term interests at heart.”
Continue below to read about our priorities on Our People, Privacy and Security, Responsible Operations and Environment.
Given the nature of our activities, people are vital to the success of our business. We are proud of our track record of attracting and retaining the best talent and of our industry-leading training and development programmes, both of which enable the Group to develop and deliver software and services that exceed the expectations of our clients. We continue to seek ways to improve and during the year we initiated our first employee engagement survey, with the aim of identifying ways to increase our employee satisfaction and retention. We are in the process of using the results of the survey to further enhance our people strategy and the way we communicate with employees.
The HR team at FD is tasked with attracting and retaining the best people. As well as an extensive engagement programme which encompasses more than 100 universities, we also have a successful employee referral programme which, together with our increasing brand awareness, led to 8,880 people applying for a job with FD during the year. From these applications, we selected 446 people to commence employment with us during the year, of which 291 were new employees at graduate level and 155 were experienced hires.
We equip our people with the right skills. We expanded our investment in external training during the past year, which included 35 employees pursuing a machine learning qualification and 250 employees studying for a risk management certification. Internally we have 713 employees currently participating in our industry-recognised, two-year Capital Markets Training Programme (CMTP). These employees have already completed 8,780 modules across finance, technical and consulting streams. The CMTP is primarily designed for, and focused on, our graduate intakes but many of those joining us as experienced hires have also benefited from the extensive knowledge base we have developed. This year we also partnered with Thomson Reuters to enhance our compliance training for all staff and to provide access to a library of over 400 training courses which all employees can access. During the year 10,519 training courses were completed by 1,899 staff across all the geographies in which we operate. Across the Group we invested £0.5m in the provision of our training and development programmes and provided 93,120 hours of training.
At FD we value effort and excellence. We recognise that we have an exceptionally talented and diligent team, which cares passionately about the work it does and the service it provides to clients. Our reward system is intended to be competitive in the market to assist recruitment and retention and all employees benefit from healthcare, pension and life assurance. Over the past year FD has extended its family-friendly policies to cover maternity, paternity and adoption pay and has supported employees through flexible working arrangements. The benefits package is designed to underpin our collegiate culture, and all benefits help support and care for employees and their families.
We care about the people who work for us. We have a 24-hour, 365-day employee assistance programme in place for all employees and we provide complementary healthcare plans and private health insurance. During the year we launched an enhanced health and wellbeing strategy, with a particular focus on mental health. This incorporated support of global awareness days, a calendar of events in locations globally which allowed employees to engage proactively in the programmes and our first mental health awareness campaign entitled #MindMatters. The #MindMatters initiative involved sharing key information and resources on various factors that have an impact on mental health wellbeing and, uniquely, employees shared personal stories on coping with mental health illnesses. In addition, we embedded our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in each location which enables our employees to benefit from many health and personal wellbeing services provided by external professionals. Utilisation of EAP was positive and was the support underpinning our #MindMatters campaign on mental health. In April 2019 we ran a training seminar on mental health first aid for line managers. We also partnered with a health care provider to host practical sessions assigning mental health first aid contacts across the business.
At FD we are proud of the diverse, inclusive and vibrant team that we have built. Our success to date has been built on bringing together high-performing teams of talent from across the globe to service our client base. We continue to diversify our business and create a culture of inclusion, mutual respect and equal opportunity which contributes to improved employee wellbeing and engagement and increases the quality of our service to clients. During the year we launched both FD Pride, our LGBT+ network, and FDWN, our women’s network. We also constantly strive to offer employment opportunities to people with physical disabilities. Our employees have embraced these networks enthusiastically and we look forward to continuing to influence the FD culture going forward. At 29 February 2020, 72% of our employees were male and 28% female, with those identified at Manager level or above split 80% male/20% female. Of our graduate intake in the year, 42% were female and 58% male.
In 2019 the Board approved the launch of FD’s inaugural employee engagement survey.
The survey was conducted with the assistance of Willis Towers Watson (WTW), an independent organisation providing broking, advisory and technology solutions to clients worldwide. We worked closely with it to design and implement a bespoke survey, utilising its engaging, confidential and user-friendly online survey.
With 13 separate categories identified, we developed a robust set of survey questions to capture valuable feedback. Survey confidentiality was a key requirement and we maintained the anonymity of employee survey results via WTW’s end-to-end platform.
In September 2019 the survey was issued to all permanent employees across the globe. We achieved a 66% participation rate, which according to WTW research is above the average for UK organisations. This provided a statistically robust dataset upon which to base our decision making.
The global participation rate and initial survey results were announced to all employees by our CEO, Seamus Keating. Our business leaders then led the dissemination of results and feedback for each part of the organisation. We are pleased that employee engagement was a top scoring category with 78% favourable. Our top scoring question was “The people I work with usually get along well together” with a remarkable 92% favourable. The survey confirmed top scoring results in the following three categories:
Employee engagement 78%
Work organisation and conditions 77%
Innovation and quality 71%
The three categories the survey identified that we must improve are:
Reward and benefit 54%
Senior leadership 50%
Performance management 50%
The survey results helped us understand what employees’ value most in the workplace and provided invaluable data to inform our decision making.
Employee engagement continues to be a priority for the executive team and is a cornerstone of our people strategy. Following the dissemination of results, a Survey Actions Working Group was formed with leaders drawn from each of our business divisions. The Group is meeting regularly to implement a programme of change across the Group.
The Group is committed to the highest standards of security and privacy, and is conscious that these matters are of great importance to stakeholders such as customers, employees and partners.
We work with many large organisations that manage sensitive and confidential data and as such our adherence to high levels of IT and cybersecurity is essential. All of our employees receive training on IT security and are provided with a copy of the Group’s IT security policy, which is multi-layered to cover areas such as access control, environmental controls, IT system architecture, remote access policies, password protection policies, data communication protocols, back-up policies, quality assurance, application change controls and system support.
The Group operates a cybersecurity awareness programme to help to establish a security-conscious culture, making sure users understand what cyber threats are, the potential impact a cyber-attack could have and the steps required to reduce risk and prevent cyber-crime infiltration.
As well as cybersecurity training it is mandatory for each employee to complete the following courses: Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and FD’s Global Code of Conduct.
FD is a “Data Processor” under GDPR. This means that FD is responsible for processing data on behalf of a “Data Controller” e.g. a client of the Group. FD adheres to the six key principles of data processing under the legislation and all staff or others who process or use any personal data must ensure that they follow these principles at all times.
The Group takes seriously its responsibilities to operate ethically and responsibly and to ensure it has a range of policies in place, with further details provided below.
Our statement on modern slavery is available on the Group website here: firstderivatives.com/modern-slavery-statement. We believe our risk of encountering modern slavery is low, but our policy is designed to prevent it occurring, reflecting our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships. We choose suppliers and contractors who we believe share our commitment. We comply with all applicable employment legislation and we invest heavily in the health and wellbeing of our employees, and provide modern slavery awareness training for our procurement, human resources, finance, legal and facilities teams along with other individuals.
As well as meeting its obligations under the Bribery Act 2010, the Group operates an Ethics Code of Conduct which includes, inter alia, requirements relating to anti-bribery and corruption. This policy is supplied to all employees.
The Group has a whistleblowing policy that enables employees to confidentially report matters of concern to an independent third party. The details of any such reports are communicated to the Non-Executive Directors. No such matters arose during the year in question.
The Group does not make charitable donations directly but actively encourages its staff to become involved in charitable pursuits. To co-ordinate these activities, it has established a charity policy with the aim of being a good neighbour in the communities in which it operates and to use the energies and talents of its employees in charitable fundraising activities. A team comprising employees from across the Group has been formed to co-ordinate these activities.
Employee-organised charitable events during the year raised more than £21,000 for more than 30 separate charities, with a further 15 charities supported globally through the donation of goods and services. Employees participated in volunteering activities including “green” community clean-up campaigns in New York and Newry. Investment in our youth has been continually supported via employees providing mentoring, careers advice and student seminars on careers in business, finance and technology.
In addition to fundraising events, the Group also encourages individual employees to contribute to charities of their choice through a payroll giving scheme under which donations are taken tax free from their monthly salary.
The Group also engages with its local communities by supporting initiatives to train and develop talent. Examples include support at both school and University level to assist developing business and technology skills and to shape curricula to ensure they are relevant to modern business requirements.
FD is committed to minimising the impact of its operations on the environment and the importance of reporting on that impact through recognised corporate responsibility standards.
As a provider of software and professional services, the Group’s direct operations have minimal impact on the environment, broadly limited to its own energy use. The Group does not manufacture or mine and does not transport goods and so consequently its operations have no impact in terms of land, water or air emissions. The Group does not provide company vehicles to employees or directors and does not operate its own datacentres. Nonetheless, the Group does seek to minimise the limited impact its operations have on the environment through a range of policies focused on environmental, corporate social responsibility and ethical and sustainable business.
Our environmental policy details measures that we take to minimise our impact on the environment, while encouraging suppliers and customers to do the same. They include compliance with the letter and spirit of environmental regulations in the geographies in which we operate; continuous monitoring to improve our environmental performance; evaluating the environmental impact of business decisions; measures to reduce waste produced and recycle where possible; incorporating energy efficiency measures in our buildings to reduce electricity consumption; participation in initiatives such as Cycle to Work; employee training and awareness; and other ad hoc measures.
We continue to put in place measures designed to minimise our impact on the environment. For example, within the past year within our offices we have installed advanced heating and cooling systems, banned the use of disposable coffee cups and optimised our business travel policy to eliminate unnecessary travel and minimise the environmental impact of necessary travel.
We are also proud of the undoubted environmental benefits that our Kx technology delivers through its energy and environmental efficiency. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that datacentres alone currently account for 1% of the world’s electricity consumption. We believe that Kx has a part to play in ensuring that the explosion in data widely predicted to occur in the coming years does not lead to a rapid increase in this electricity requirement.
The environmental benefits in terms of power consumption, cooling, space and hardware requirements delivered by Kx are key messages to existing and potential customers. Currently, there are no independent benchmarks that measure these impacts definitively; however in conjunction with potential customers we conduct head-to-head comparisons against other streaming analytics technologies in which we have demonstrated reductions in electricity, cooling, space and hardware requirements in the range of 80–90% when compared to competing solutions.
FD is required to report its energy use and impact under the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulations. For the year ended 29 February 2020 the UK energy used was 1,130,686 kWh. Using the UK government’s 2019 GHG Conversion Factors Guidance to calculate the quantity of emissions provides scope 2 emissions of 287 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The SECR regulations require a statement of relevant intensity ratios, which are an expression of the quantity of emissions in relation to a quantifiable factor of the business activity. FD has identified two such intensity ratios, set out below.
Intensity ratios for the year to 29 February 2020 (tonnes of CO2e per unit)
Total Revenue Employees