A group of leading financial services companies have joined an initiative to tackle the under-representation of black talent in the UK's investment industry.
Run by Entrepreneurs in Action, the project will see 10 firms work with more than 25 students, primarily from schools across South London, to find ways to increase the applications, opportunities and development of young black people in entry-level roles.
Redington, Aon, Fidelity, Invesco, LCP, Lincoln Pensions, Mercer, Morgan Stanley, St James’ Place and Wellington will share details on their current diversity initiatives and entry-level strategies, and on what they perceive as any barriers to bringing in young black talent.
Students will then be encouraged to challenge the firms on their existing approaches, based on their own experience and market research, and present their findings and solutions as part of a digital session later this month.
“As someone who joined the industry 30 years ago, I am aware it has made slow progress to identify and recruit black talent, despite a range of entry programmes under the banner of diversity,” said Entrepreneurs in Action CEO Derek Browne.
“This initiative provides a unique platform to engage some of the highest profile investment management and consulting firms with a range of talented young individuals who are excited about the industry.
“Working with GenZ to solve industry challenges is the way forward and I hope this is the first of many programmes for Entrepreneurs in Action to work with the industry.”
Despite decades of running diversity and inclusion initiatives, the firms signed up to the new initiative agree that the investment industry's representation of black employees is not good enough at all levels.
It is hoped that engagement with young black students can help solve the following questions: What problems/obstacles do we need to understand? What blind spots can you illuminate? What solutions can you suggest, specifically for bringing more entry level black talent into our organisations?
The solutions will be presented to CEOs and other senior leaders from the participating firms, as well as representatives from the industry.
“This is a great opportunity to engage directly with young black students to hear their ideas for our industry, and hopefully in return inspire them to consider a career in investment,” said LCP's head of investment Clay Lambiotte.
“We know we need to be doing more to attract black talent, and this programme will give us a fresh perspective on current diversity policies to drive the change needed to make our firm and industry more representative.”
Author: Chris Seekings
Image credit: iStock