Lloyds Banking Group has come top in Stonewall’s list of employers for promoting LGBT diversity for Wales and Scotland.

The banking giant also came in the number two spot in the overall list for the UK.

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The Security Service MI5, which bagged the number one spot, alongside Lloyds Banking Group, beat over 400 other employers to be awarded the honour.

The ranking is based on employment policies, training, career development and its support of LGBT employees.

Lloyds Banking Group was the sponsor of the 2015 PinkNews Awards, held at the Foreign Office in London.

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Lloyds Banking Group came top of the list in Scotland and Wales

As well as placing high in the employers lists, Lloyds Group Director of Operations and Executive Sponsor for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Karin Cook, was also named Senior Champion of the Year.

Ms Cook said: “It is a great honour for me to have been named Stonewall’s Senior Champion of the Year 2016. My role as Lloyds Banking Group’s Executive Sponsor for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is incredibly rewarding and am ably supported by an extremely proactive group of colleagues. I am personally committed to helping our LGBT colleagues be more comfortable and confident in bringing their whole selves to work, and want to ensure that Lloyds Banking Group is seen as an employer of choice for the LGBT community.

“As part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan, we have set a public goal around increasing the engagement levels of LGBT colleagues, and are committed to making it happen.”

See Karin Cook present a PinkNews Award to MP Maria Miller and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson here.

The headquarters of the Bank of Scotland on The Mound, Edinburgh, photographed from North Bridge toward the Castle (right). Photograph: Graham Barclay/bwp media.

The headquarters of the Bank of Scotland on The Mound, Edinburgh

Fiona Cannon OBE, Group Director of Inclusion & Diversity, added: “I’m delighted that Lloyds Banking create a truly inclusive organisation where everyone feels welcomed and valued without needing to hide, change or compromise anything about themselves.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve continued to make progress in this space, which has been reflected by an increase in engagement for our LGBT colleagues – a key goal in our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. In 2016 we’ll continue to build on our success by working with our colleagues, our leaders, and our LGBT network, Rainbow, to look at how we can make the Group even more inclusive for our LGBT colleagues and customers.”

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO, said: “Those organisations that are ‘getting it right’ are not only improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff, stakeholders, clients and customers, but are also reaping business benefits.

“We know that people perform better when they can be themselves, and it’s been proven that diversity among staff leads to a more productive, positive and creative workplace environment.”

Sarah Crowe, the Client Group Manager at Stonewall said: “It’s an excellent year for the financial services sector, with eight organisations receiving Top 100 status, and two star performers – Barclays and Goldman Sachs. It is fantastic to see new entries from JP Morgan, Bank of America Merill Lynch and Macquarie at 93, as well as a significant leap from HSBC and RBS retaining a strong position for another consecutive year.

“Lloyd’s Banking Group is the star this year, coming second overall and first in financial services. The Group has also been named the top employer for LGBT employees in both Wales and Scotland. LBG have a forcible triage in place – excellent senior sponsorship in the form of Karin Cook, a tenacious and capable LGBT D&I manager in Klare Britton, and a vibrant, energetic grass roots network. What sets them apart is that the business itself really values diversity and inclusion, and is prepared to invest in it. There is no tick box approach here, but a true belief that potential is fulfilled, and true innovation happens when people can bring their whole selves to work. LBG are always striving to do more and better, and never think the job is done. There are no half measures. LBG go above and beyond to ensure that they are properly harnessing the potential of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

The full results of Stonewall’s 2016 Top 100 Employers list are available here.