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#cando meets ESG: talking veterans, diversity and leadership with Sean Taylor

2 November 2021

CGWM’s Head of UK Intermediary Sales, Sean Taylor, has been recognised by 10 Downing Street for his voluntary work, winning the Prime Minister’s ‘Point of Light’ award for his service to veterans’ charity Give Us Time.

Sean Taylor.jpg

We sat down with Sean to discuss what #cando means to him, and how leadership and service to others go hand in hand.

How did you come to be involved with veterans’ charities?

I am a veteran myself, having served in the British Army including several operational tours, so there was a natural desire to help fellow ex-servicemen and women experiencing difficulties. 

There are five million veterans in the UK, with another 20,000 leaving the armed forces every year, so even if only a small proportion of veterans need support with transitioning to civilian life, career planning or emotional and mental wellbeing, the actual numbers of people who need help are high.

I am the chair of trustees of Give Us Time, a charity which provides much-needed breaks for military families to spend time together after injury, bereavement or long periods of separation. I am also a trustee of F4H, a charity which helps veterans adjust to civilian life and improve self-esteem. In addition, I volunteer and mentor for a number of other initiatives encompassing veterans’ wellbeing and diversity.

You’ve been an advocate for diversity for many years, both within CGWM and in your voluntary roles. Why did you campaign for veterans to be recognised by the Diversity Project, which promotes diversity in the investment industry?

Diversity is so important, both in business and in life. At CGWM we know that when you bring a diverse range of colleagues together, the diversity in thoughts and ideas that results brings real benefits to clients.

I’ve always thought the military is like a microcosm of society: people from all backgrounds bringing their diverse experiences and viewpoints together to work as a team.

I also feel that people and organisations can sometimes be unconsciously biased against ex-servicemen and women. Everyone has an image in their head of what a soldier is – and it can sometimes be a negative one - but I wanted to promote the reality, which is that veterans have an exceedingly wide skillset to offer both business and wider society. At CGWM, we’re proud to have a number of veterans in teams across the organisation, and I wanted to be an advocate of the benefits veterans can bring to the industry.

How does your charitable work cross over with your role at CGWM?

At CGWM we are privileged to look after the investments of a number of charities, including veterans’ charities. When I talk to clients in the charitable sector, they know we as a business truly understand their needs because we are experienced trustees and volunteers ourselves.

Also, ESG is increasingly important to us as both a firm and in our investment offerings. Our ESG Portfolio Service is a real focus for us and a cornerstone of our service. Being able to look clients in the eye and say we are personally living the ‘social’ and the ‘governance’ parts of ESG through our team’s work in serving the community and promoting diversity is really important and, I think, a way CGWM really stands out from the crowd.

What has been the highlight of your charitable work so far?

Of course, winning the Point of Light award was a huge honour, as well as a complete surprise. To be recognised at that level was really humbling.

But the moment that really stands out for me was receiving a message from a family who Give Us Time helped have a last holiday together before the father died of a terminal illness. They were so grateful to have been able to spend some precious family time together before he passed away. It’s moments like that, where I see a difference to someone’s life, that I really cherish.

What does can-do mean for you?

It means just getting it done. Doing something that makes a difference – even if you help just one person – is always worthwhile.

I’m a huge believer in the concept of paying it forward – if you can help just one person, they will (hopefully) go on and help someone else.

The services and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, taught me the concept of ‘servant leadership’. Part of being a true leader is serving others, helping them grow so they can, in turn, help others in years to come. It’s a concept I take into all my charity and mentoring work, as well as my role at CGWM.

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If you would like to find out more about our can-do approach, or our services for charities, please get in touch.

Investment involves risk. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. 

Our portfolios are designed to work over a typical investment cycle of 7-10 years, so we recommend you stay invested for at least seven years.

Photo of Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Head of Marketing and Communications

Jane heads up the Marketing and Communications function at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management and is based in the Lothbury office. She is a member of the Financial Services Forum.

Investment involves risk and you may not get back what you invest. It’s not suitable for everyone.

Investment involves risk and is not suitable for everyone.