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Flux CEO calls on fintech to "see it, say it, sorted"

Veronique Barbosa, promoted to Flux CEO last month, says that Flux needs to do more on diversity, particularly recruiting more female engineers and having a more diversified board.

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Flux's management team Tom Reay, Veronique Barbosa, Matty Cusden-Ross.

The new CEO of Flux has put diversity high up in her in-tray, admitting the fintech struggles with diversity in some parts of the organisation and has called on the industry to "see it, say it, sorted" if it encounters gender discrimination.Veronique Barbosa, 32, was promoted to Flux CEO last month and in a post announcing her promotion called the meagre number of global female fintech CEOs “insane”. Industry figures show less than 5.6 per cent of fintech CEOs around the world are women. Barbosa told AltFi that she would have guessed the figure of global female fintech leaders to be between 20 and 30 per cent. She said she was surprised the figure was so low because you “hear a lot of positive noise” about female representation at the senior level. Flux has just under 30 employees and at the senior leadership level has roughly a 50/ 50 gender split. But Barbosa says it has work to do in some parts of the organisation to shift to a more gender-balanced workforce. “There is still work to do on our side in terms of wider diversity,” the co-founder of Flux says. “It will come as a surprise to no one that we definitely struggle with that on our engineering team. It is something we are constantly looking at and looking to improve.” Likewise, the Flux board is made up of Barbosa and five white men. “I would really like to see the board diversified within the next year,” she says. Barbosa says she thinks there are “so many” systemic reasons why there is a lack of female leaders in fintech. For example, she points to a visible problem in the workforce being women having a passive writing style, using conditional language. “Women have, for some reason, and it’s a complete mystery to me, a much more passive writing style. “I can’t genericise for everyone, but when I would write emails, I would write a lot of ‘would it be possible? Could we possibly meet at this time?'”  She says this passive writing style is completely different to the writing style of her male peers. “I think there should be a question mark about why women feel the need to ask permission so much more than their male counterparts,” Barbosa says. “If there were less of that I think there could start to be the inklings of change.”

Barbosa also urged the fintech industry to follow the British Transport Police’s "see it, say it, sorted" campaign aimed to increase public awareness and report crime and potential terrorist acts.  “I really encourage people who see any kind of challenges around diversity or any commentary that would be inappropriate to really see it, say it, sorted,” she adds.

On why it's so important to have a gender-balanced workforce, she says: "I think in general, gender diversity and broader diversity is key for consistent innovation and strategic solutions.

"I think there is plenty of academic research that points to the fact that a diverse group make better decisions. and avoid groupthink."

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Veronique Barbosa

Co-Founder and COO


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