(Bloomberg) -- UK Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has criticized plans by the nation’s regulators to force financial firms to publish data about their staff including gender and ethnicity, warning the measures could raise costs and stifle growth.

The minister told a gathering at TheCityUK conference on Thursday that she had written to the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority last month challenging their plans. Her criticisms were aimed at the regulators’ proposal requiring firms to report data based on “gender” or “gender identity.” 

That was “not in accordance with the Equality Act,” Badenoch said in her letter seen by Bloomberg News. The regulators were also seeking to “gold plate” their equality duties as public sector bodies, which would have the effect of reducing innovation and competition, she said. 

A representative for the FCA said the regulator has received the letter and will respond, while the PRA declined to comment.

Badenoch’s intervention is consistent with her reputation for intervening on social issues such as migration and transgender rights. The right-leaning press have dubbed her the “anti-woke warrior.”

Badenoch’s comments follow a consultation by the FCA and PRA launched jointly in September as part of a drive to boost firms’ diversity, with the aim of reducing “group think” and cutting risk. 

Meeting Resistance

The regulators’ plans have met resistance from several corners in the City of London, with firms arguing that asking staff to supply information such as their religious and sexual orientation would run into hurdles, according to several people familiar with the matter. They have also said that requiring public targets will be easier for firms employing people in places with a more diverse population. 

Under the proposals, larger firms will be required to meet more commitments than smaller ones.

The regulatory focus on diversity as a way to improve firms’ culture and performance comes amid a string of conduct scandals, including allegations that hedge fund manager Crispin Odey sexually assaulted female members of staff and others. The revelations about Odey have put a spotlight on the culture of his firm as well as the role of regulators. 

Read More: Odey Accused of Assaulting Woman Just Months After Acquittal

Badenoch, who is also Minister for Women and Equalities, also said her role sometimes involved “the killing of bad ideas.” Regulators’ plans for “proposed mandate of equality quotas” was “something the law does not require and could be counter-productive,” Badenoch said.

The FCA last month said it would “reflect” on a recommendation from the Treasury Select Committee that regulators “drop their plans for extensive data reporting and target setting.” The market should be able to solve its own challenges “without such extensive regulatory intervention,” the committee said. 

Badenoch also criticized the general increase in regulations in the past few decades. “This ever rising tide of micromanagement will not necessarily make us or the financial markets stronger,” Badenoch said.

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