By Grahame Anderson
Major UK fund managers have signed up to a scheme helping young university educated black people get a head start in the sector.
The #100BlackInterns initiative has seen leading players like Legal & General, Royal London, Standard Life Aberdeen, Schroders and Goldman Sachs assisting those from a BAME background to destroy the glass ceiling many feel exists within the city.
The brainchild of Jonathan Sorrell, president of Capstone Investment Advisors, the scheme is determined to address the “chronic under-representation” of black talent in the UK’s investment industry.
He explained: “We felt we wanted to do something really tangible to build a bench of compelling black talent in our industry for the long-term.
“By providing such a special entry point into portfolio management, we hope to attract great black students to a career path they may not have otherwise contemplated.”
Interestingly, recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), cited “BAME employees are significantly more likely to say that your identity or background can influence the opportunities you are given than white employees”.
A significant lack of BAME role models in high ranked management positions is another factor in limiting the advances of BAME employees.
Asian Sunday has learned only 6 per cent of the total top management positions in the UK are from BAME groups.
More than 80 asset managers have already pledged a paid internship to a black candidate next summer in a front-line investment position. Many more are set to follow as the project gathers interest.
According to research produced in 2018 study by New Financial, there were only 12 black portfolio managers in the UK investment management industry. What’s more they revealed the industry was dominated by “white, middle class, straight men” – this out a total of 3,000 fund managers.
The plan is to see provide 100 intern ships to black candidates each year, leading to a measurable increase in the number of black portfolio managers in the next few years. These vital roles are in critically important investment teams instrumental in making key decisions worth billions of pounds.
All paid placements will be offered over a minimum six weeks to black candidates who still studying or have recently graduated from university, from all academic disciplines.
Their programme guarantees interns will be placed in “critically important investment teams” at hedge funds, private equity firms, consultancies and pension funds.
A Foot On The Ladder
One of the co-ordinators is Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of Redington and Mallowstreet who told us: “In over two decades in the City, I have rarely come across anyone who looks like me.
“It is so powerful that the investment management industry has agreed to help welcome more black talent into our industry. We hope other professions will follow suit and have an impact on the representation of black talent in their own industries.”
A spokesperson from the group added: “This scheme is so powerful the investment management industry has agreed to help welcome more black talent. We hope other professions will follow suit and have an impact on the representation of black talent in their own industries.”
Just last month In Lloyds Banking Group announced plans to increase the number of black staff in senior management roles. Earlier in the summer several other financial institutions including Barclays, committed to reporting on the key sustainable and long term actions on black inclusion. Other schemes are also in the pipeline.
Wol Kolade, managing partner of Livingbridge, says: “The support for this initiative from the industry has been absolutely terrific. If there are other firms we have not yet contacted that would like to provide an internship, they would be very welcome to join the programme.”
Applications are welcome from black university students from any academic discipline and from any year group, including those on gap years and those who have graduated since 2019. They must comprise a one page CV and cover letter of up to 400words, with a deadline of 13 November.
The organisers say Any additional investment management firms who can provide an internship in a portfolio management function as part of the programme can make contact through the website.
Visit www.100blackinterns.com. For more information