Supporting ‘Pride’ these days – or at least proudly saying so – has become commonplace for many companies worldwide. The background noise increases every June as Pride month begins. However, more than 20 years ago, the company I worked for not only supported the LGBT community – it did something positive about it.
Back then, Sovereign created a separate brand – Sovereign Alternative – to provide bespoke solutions to the LGBT community, of which I am a member. Based in London, Sovereign asked me to develop the brand from a standing start.
We created a lot of noise in what was still a challenging space. We held seminars and produced our own collateral and a website. I even penned an article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph. At the time, few firms actively promoted LGBT specific services but Sovereign Alternative was one of them.
Did it last? Not really. But in a way I’m delighted that it did not. In the two decades since we created Sovereign Alternative, many countries worldwide have enacted civil union (or partnership) legislation. Combined with a much more tolerant attitude toward LGBT rights in general, specific services aimed at the LGBT community are perhaps somewhat outdated. Indeed, the whole point for such unions is to get rid of discrimination around such issues as inheritance or end-of-life treatment rights.
Of course, LGBT clients still need financial planning but generally, their requirements are similar to those of their straight counterparts. And of course, no client’s situation is precisely the same as another’s, so our solutions must be bespoke. Occasionally I hear that an LGBT client prefers to discuss their affairs with a sympathetic adviser – that is no problem for Sovereign thanks to its diverse staffing complement globally.
We have now been providing services to the community for over 20 years and, in the early days, we were one of the few firms to be doing so proactively. I also think we managed to change attitudes around the Sovereign Group and further afield about the LGBT community.
I believe passionately that Sovereign Alternative was worth doing. Our story has become part of the LGBT movement’s colourful history. It is something of which Sovereign can be justifiably proud. I know I am.