The Investment Association (IA) has launched a campaign to increase the number of black investment managers working in the industry.
This diversity drive is backed by a new report, which details the experiences of black professionals working in the investment management industry as well as black student considering their careers.
The report – Black Voices: Building black representation in investment management – sets out 10 key steps firms can take to increase the number of black employees and support their career progression and to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
According to the IA, fewer than 1 per cent of investment managers are black, even though this group comprises of 3 per cent of the UK population, and 13 per cent of those living in London, where the majority of the investment management industry’s workforce is based.
- Modernising recruitment processes by reaching out to a wider and more diverse entry-level talent pool.
- Establishing mentoring or talent development programmes. Currently, 40 per cent of black professionals surveyed felt that their firms did not have policies in place to support the recruitment and progression of black employees.
- Building black networks to help professionals discover new opportunities and role models within the industry.
- Widening education on inclusion which recognises an individual’s whole identity and focuses on equality. Unconscious bias training may be a good starting point for managers and staff involved in recruitment and development.
- Using the term black, rather than BAME, which currently masks the different experiences and varying representations of ethnic groups.
IA chief executive Chris Cummings says: “Different voices, opinions and experiences help investment performance, widening horizons and discouraging group think.
“Building a diverse and inclusive industry requires self-reflection and honesty. This report seeks to do that by giving a voice to black people who have not previously always been heard.
“Our industry now has an opportunity to lead from the front in being a catalyst for social change, not just in our own investment houses but well beyond too.”
On behalf of #talkaboutblack campaign — which worked with the IA in producing this report, — Justin Onuekwusi, head of retail multi-asset funds at LGIM says: “While ethnic minorities are generally underrepresented across the asset management industry, the issue becomes all the more pressing when we consider how few employees, especially those in senior leadership, are black.
“It has long been taboo to discuss ethnicity, yet change can only come about once we have these conversations. We created #talkaboutblack as a platform to not only discuss the challenges faced by our black colleagues, but to also come up with solutions.
“This is leading to tangible action and gives us a real opportunity to make the lasting change that we hope can inspire the next generation of aspiring black asset and investment management professionals.”