Paragon’s Rowntree handed Freedom of the City of London – Mortgage Finance Gazette
Rowntree, who joined the bank in 2020, ardently campaigns on socio-economic issues.
He is a board member of Progress Together, a membership body dedicated to advancing socio-economic diversity in the financial services sector.
The executive was Paragon’s representative on the City of London’s Socio-Economic Taskforce, which aimed to boost diversity in senior roles across financial and professional services firms.
He is a regular speaker at conferences on diversity issues and is the executive sponsor of the Paragon Banking Group’s equality, diversity and inclusion network.
Rowntree received his award at the Guildhall in London this week, accompanied by his family, and is an honour that dates back to 1237 and remains a unique part of the capital’s history.
He says: “I grew up on a council estate in Southend, so have experienced first-hand some of the challenges and prejudices somebody from my background can face when moving up the career ladder.
“I am extremely proud of my background and where I come from, and that certainly shouldn’t be a barrier to progression, but unfortunately for too many, it is. That needs to change.”
He adds: “Achieving balanced socio-economic representation across all levels of the financial services industry is so important as it leads to diversity of thought and better outcomes.
“I strive to see better representation at senior levels of the industry in particular and am working hard with sector peers to help remove barriers.”