Equality and Diversity Policy


Women’s Charter In Finance

Sturgeon Ventures LLP is a signatory on The Women’s Charter in Finance. Since 2000 we have focused on financial services start-ups from a regulatory point of view, pioneered a paradigm shift in financial services and also assisted these companies to run successful small businesses.

Since 1998, the business has incubated over 200 start-ups in Financial Services, of which 12 have been started and operated by women.

In light of this, Sturgeon is active in encouraging diversity and Seonaid is a regular speaker in private and state schools on the issues of diversity and women in finance.

See HM Treasury website for further information – Women In Finance.

Sturgeon Ventures LLP and Sturgeon Compliance Services Limited are together a family of companies owned by Seonaid Mackenzie, who is the Director and Managing Partner across the family. Sturgeon is an owner managed firm and is more than 51% female owned.

All the women in the group are on a consultancy basis, are not employees and work across all three firms.

The structure of the companies means that all the women are able to be paid in line with other in financial services and work from home with client face to face visits only when needed, therefore having the flexibility to manage families and homes. Sturgeon’s model since being founded was a blend of office and work from home for all its team, which has also encouraged work from home dads getting quality of life time with their growing families too.

Sturgeon ensures that all the team are able to have training of at least 10 hours a year, to maintain and increase their training and competency, important as they grow in confidence and are empowered not only through financial earnings but also in strengths, knowledge and leadership skills. We also recognise the needs of each individual, regardless of background, and we aim to strike a balance across everything that we do for our clients and ourselves in order to make Sturgeon a place for people to thrive and grow.

Covid19 has been business as usual for the Sturgeon Teams who are well versed in flexible working from home and it has encouraged great team events getting to know the teams’ skills from every angle https://www.sturgeonventures.com/if-sturgeon-did-art-exhibitions/.

Gender Diversity

Today 64% of our team are women, predominantly working mothers. It is part of the culture of the family of companies to encourage professional women back to work, based on flexibility of their role, hours and encouragement. In light of this, the whole team are consultants not employees. It is part of our culture to build these women and take skills and develop them further, with knowledge and confidence.

Sturgeon understand that each of us is different – based on experience, culture, generation and ethnicity, and we value our differences.  A good example of this is our home office/work place mixed week. Work On Wednesdays (WOW) being our team day in our HQ, with all present at least once a month.

It is about creating an environment of collaboration, authentic relationships, to be yourself, and share your perspective, whilst thinking out of the box. We value thinking, learning and being different so all are empowered.

Sturgeon provides the tools and technology to provide flexible working, whilst still delivering exceptional service and commitments to our clients, our families and our community in a balanced way while still achieving own goals.

Sturgeon is committed to promoting a supportive and inclusive culture for all of our consultants,  clients and partners.   We aim to ensure that no job applicant, consultant, client or partner experiences less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origin, age, gender reassignment or parental/marital status, sexual orientation or disability.  By integrating individual strengths, we maximise efficiency and creativity, and deliver greater  service.

Our target is to continue to encourage women led start-ups, in the industry and motivate our next generation by sharing our own experiences.


Sturgeon will work to ensure that consultants are:

  • Treated fairly and without discrimination during their consultancy, commencing with the recruitment process, and have access to development and recognition, whether through financial reward or further training when available, always based on merit.
  • Fairly appraised and rewarded for personal contributions to the organisation.
  • Able to access opportunities for training and development to develop to their full potential.
  • Supported in balancing work and home life commitments and have requests considered objectively.
  • Treated with dignity and respect in a fair and consistent manner in an environment where inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable.

Roles and Responsibilities

Sturgeon is committed to promoting equality for all. If a consultant feels they have been subject to discrimination in their consultancy role, which is in direct conflict with our commitment to equality of opportunity, they should raise this with a member of the management team.

All consultants have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect. If a consultant is found to have acted in a deliberately discriminatory manner, appropriate disciplinary procedures will apply.

All consultants, clients and partners will be informed that an equality and diversity policy is in operation and are bound to comply with its requirements.  This policy will also be drawn to the attention of consultants, clients, stakeholders and job applicants though appropriate communication channels.

It is expected that when staff are representing Sturgeon in an external capacity, and as part of their role, that they will endeavour to ensure that equality and diversity principles and practices are adhered to.

External Targets in Accordance with the Women in Finance Charter

Sturgeon Ventures LLP has signed the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a pledge for gender balance across financial services.

By signing the Charter, Sturgeon Ventures LLP has committed to implement four recommendations to improve gender diversity in financial services. The charter asks financial firms to support the progression of women into senior roles, set Internal and Externally reportable targets to improve diversity in the workforce, and publicly report on these goals.

As the go-to place for women to continue their financial services careers and for financial institutions wishing to claim the Gender Dividend, our gender diversity challenges are different from most firms regulatory incubators/regulatory hosting firms and we therefore encourage diversity within our start-ups that we incubate/host, as well as corporations that we have as on-going Compliance Clients after their period of incubation/hosting. Some of these companies can also be established foreign firms starting a business in the UK, not simply start-ups who have never operated before.

By the nature of our business, each individual member of the Sturgeon team is responsible and accountable for promoting gender diversity and inclusion to the industry, and for ensuring our team maximise career opportunities within the financial services industry particularly for back to work mothers.

We have set a target at Partner level to consider how we encourage men into our team and ensure a  flexible working environment, and to promote and understand how their requirements can be addressed to build towards the long term goal of a gender neutral society.

Our Policy is to keep at least 50% of senior management as female.  In April 2018, we promoted one female member of our team to become the Compliance Officer.

Our publicly reported external targets are to:

  • Support 5 women into senior management/board level roles at the financial services clients we are working with.
  • Support 5 women who wish to continue their financial services careers to be retained in consulting, contracting and other permanent positions in the sector. To encourage and support continual training of these women.
  • Support 5 women, who would have otherwise been lost to the industry, to continue or return to careers. Often working mothers with flexible hours and working from our office and at home and with clients.
  • Support Schools in the United Kingdom – to speak to at least 2 schools from Year 11-13 in the next financial year on Gender Diversity in Financial Services and aspiring into front office roles with no gender bias.

Review of this Policy

1/12/2017 – Update

Sturgeon Ventures LLP began with two Designated Partners (one woman/one man as founding partners). During 2017 we put together a management team which was made up of  two women and 1 man and the original female founder.

26/4/2018 – Update

In April 2018 one of those two women in the management team was appointed as the Compliance Officer CF10, yet to be approved by the FCA, and is a Designated Partner. There are now three Designated Partners, two women and one man, and a further three Member Partners, including one women.

July 2018 – Update

Sarah Whitehead was approved as Compliance Officer (CF10) and Head of Legal and is a Designated Partner CF4.  There are only two designated partners in the firm, both women, and a further 4 Member Partners, one more of these is a woman.

To hear more about Sarah’s journey at Sturgeon Ventures – click on the image to watch her video story.


Remuneration Pledge in accordance with the Charter

Sturgeon Ventures from 1st October 2016 incentivises senior management and all the team with special projects – performance fees, linked to the pledged targets being met.

We will report on the progress of these targets on this page.

Our Diversity Officer is Seonaid Mackenzie, who can be contacted at hello@sturgeonventures.com.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Sturgeon will regularly evaluate its services and the effectiveness of its equality and diversity policy.

03/12/18 – Update

Sturgeon’s commitment to equality and diversity is an active one.  This document will be amended on a regular basis as part of this active commitment.

Sturgeon will seek to keep up-to-date with new developments in Equality and Diversity practice and actively seek information on this issue.

December 2019 – Update

Sturgeon Ventures is delighted to have been approved, once again, for the Women in Finance Charter.  Sturgeon has been signed up to this initiative since July 2016.

October 2020 – Update

Sturgeon Ventures is delighted to have been approved, once again, for the Women in Finance Charter.  Sturgeon has been signed up to this initiative since July 2016.

October 2021 – Update

Sturgeon Ventures are proud to have been signed up to this initiative since July 2016.   Sturgeon’s commitment to equality and diversity is an active one.  By signing the charter, Sturgeon Ventures LLP has committed to implementing four recommendations to improve gender diversity in financial services. The charter asks financial firms to support the progression of women into senior roles, set internal and externally reportable targets to improve diversity in the workforce, and publicly report on these goals. 

Following the findings of the 2015 review which found that women made up only 14% of Executive Committees within financial services, the Women In Finance Charter was launched in 2016. 

The Sturgeon team is proud to advise that in 2021 the team is made up of 57% women, many of whom are working mothers and the Senior Management team is 50% women. We strive to continue to encourage the development of women in Finance and to maintain our 50% target for women in Senior Management. 

The Women in Finance Charter asks financial firms to commit to four industry actions to build the female talent pipeline for leadership positions. The Charter’s innovative approach has been an unprecedented success with some of the UK’s biggest and most well-established firms signing up. 

They are now over 330 firms of all shapes and sizes across financial services signed up to the commitments of the Charter – from global banks to credit unions, the largest insurance companies to the smallest fintech start-ups – with headquarters in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia. 

September 2022 – Update

Following the annual submission, Sturgeon is proud to confirm it continues to be a member of the Women in Finance Charter.  The Sturgeon team is proud to advise that in 2022 the team is made up of 50% women, many of whom are working mothers and the Senior Management team is 50% women. We strive to continue to encourage the development of women in Finance and to maintain our 50% target for women in Senior  Management.

March 2023 – Update

Sturgeon Ventures’ Equality and Diversity policy was reviewed and updated.

To read more on the Women in Finance Charter and to view all the signatories, please see the links below: 



Corporate and Social Responsibility

Passionate about what we do, the team at Sturgeon gives time to support other organisations that help and support women or young people. Sturgeon also donates a proportion of profits to charities or sponsorship each year.

For further information please see  – Our Values – Corporate and Social Responsibility


Equality and Diversity at Sturgeon Ventures

Diversity Officer

Seonaid Mackenzie – Managing Partner of Sturgeon Ventures

Contact: hello@sturgeonventures.com

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