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Intermediaries are not gay-friendly

Lenders are considerably more gay-friendly than brokers when it comes to employment, according to a survey by Stonewall, the gay, lesbian and bisexual lobby group.

The survey asked a wide variety of companies about their hiring policies concerning gay, lesbian or bisexual people. While lenders scored highly, brokerages barely had enough gay employees to take part.

Citigroup, Lehman Brothers and Nationwide faired well, all scoring over 75% in the 20-question survey.

David Sheppard, director of Principia Mortgages which specialises in offering advice to gay people, says: “In the broking industry we have a long way to go to remove sexual discrimination, whether this is in hiring gay people or dealing with them as clients.

“A lot of clients come to me because they are afraid that they will be treated differently just because they are gay. It’s not that all brokers are not gay-friendly, but the industry lags when it comes to sexual equality.”

A spokeswoman for Nationwide, which came 37th in the poll, says: “We signed up as a diversity champion with Stonewall in June 2004.

“Our aim is to develop and promote an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and members.”

She adds: “We have taken every opportunity to use Stonewall’s workplace equality index as a benchmarking tool to measure our performance in relation to our competitors as well as to check our policies and practices.”

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