The new head of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has said we are ‘moving in the right direction’ in terms of gender diversity in the industry.
Kate Davies is a well-known face in the UK mortgage world; she joined the Council of Mortgage Lenders back in 1991 and stayed for 17 years as a policy adviser, experiencing many changes to the sector in her time there.
As a woman who has taken on a lead role in a male-dominated industry, Davies says we are moving in the right direction in terms of diversity.
Sitting down with Mortgage Strategy on International Women’s Day, she says: “I am struck by how many senior women there are currently – I have two on IMLA ‘s management committee – very different from when I joined in 1991. “
But Davies believes that roles should always be appointed based on suitability, not gender.
“We are definitely moving in the right direction, though we need to make sure we are really there on merit and avoid tokenism.”
Davies has also spent time as a non-executive director at Darlington Building Society and as a standards officer at the Equity Release Council.
Now taking on her biggest role to date at the trade body, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, she is exhilarated by the opportunity.
“I was very happy to get the role; I still have a smile on my face about it,” she says.
Davies officially took on the role in January but actually began working with the trade body in June of last year to undergo an extensive handover with her predecessor, Peter Williams.
“We are now at 39 members and growing all the time; I’m looking forward to consolidating the work already done,” she says.
“The work IMLA does is often invisible but we have to head off potential issues before they happen.
“We deal with the regulator and the ombudsman closely and we have to ensure that the wheels of the operation are oiled and industry practices improved.
“I really want to be an ambassador for good practice in the industry.”
When asked what the best piece of advice she has received is, Davies says: “To be the best version of yourself; it’s always resonated with me in everything that I do and I will carry that mantra into this role with me.”