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Hadleigh firm Matthew Douglas Ltd wins award for ‘unapologetic’ drive to champion diversity

Diversity must be championed in businesses to reflect the communities they serve, rather than treated as a box-ticking exercise, according to a Hadleigh firm after receiving a national award.

Financial adviser Matthew Douglas Ltd – based at Wheatsheaf House in Hadleigh High Street – won the MoneyAge Diversity Award earlier this month, in recognition of its work to promote diversity across its workforce.

Triumphing over high-profile names in the finance industry, the company was highlighted for the broad range of background represented among its staff, with heritage from the UK, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Matthew Douglas Ltd in Hadleigh won the the MoneyAge Diversity Award for 2023. Picture: Contributed.
Matthew Douglas Ltd in Hadleigh won the the MoneyAge Diversity Award for 2023. Picture: Contributed.

Founder Matthew Pescott Frost, who collected the accolade during the ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton London hotel, said: “In 20 years of business, this company has grown from nothing into a successful local business, employing and uniting 17 immeasurably diverse individuals.

“We support around 700 families, providing advice and investing assets of £300 million and generating a turnover approaching £2.5 million. This could never have happened without recognising the importance of diversity and building it into every facet of our business.”

Judges praised the firm’s efforts to support refugees from both Syria and Ukraine in recent years, providing financial and cultural advice, as well as securing accommodation for one asylum seeker.

Company director Russell Brett added: “We’re truly honoured to win the award, especially as we’ve been championing corporate diversity long before it became a box to tick on a hiring sheet.

“While we are based in the heart of rural Suffolk, a county with a majority white population of 93 per cent, compared to the English national average of just 81 per cent, there are 17 members of our team whose heritage comes from four different continents – Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.

“What’s more, in an industry that historically has a low percentage of female staff, we also have five women represented at all levels within the company, from the senior management team to senior advisers and customer service members.

“We don’t believe in working in an echo chamber. We’re incredibly inclusive because we are unapologetically reflective of the diverse community we serve. We thrive within a culture of acceptance, tolerance and mutual support.”