Aims & Goals
The UK is the world’s second-largest savings market after the United States totalling £7.7trn. The industry employs 100,000 individuals with 75% of UK household utilising the services of an asset manager in one form or another. There has been a drive to increase diversity and inclusion in the asset management sector with four major reasons cited:
- Greater diversity of thought leads to better decision making and better performance
- Institutions should be representative of the customers and communities they serve
- The changing economic, geopolitical and demographic landscape requires new perspectives to successfully navigate
- Asset managers should contribute to society and reduce inequalities
Yet the industry remains unrepresentative of the UK population and workforce. Ethnic minorities comprise 14% of the UK the population with 7.5% identifying as Asian and 3.3% as Black.
In London where the majority of fund managers are based, 18.5% of the population is Asian and 13.3% is black. In the fund management industry, 10% of individuals identify as Asian and only 1% identify as black.
Previous attempts to capture minority groups in the workplace have led to the BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) acronym. Our experience tells us that this is not a homogeneous group and the experiences of different ethnicities leads to sub optimal outcomes when attempting to redress the imbalance. Given the under-representation is most severe amongst black people, we have decided to focus on this demographic. We highlighted four major causes for black under-representation.
The Kinks in the Hosepipe
We highlighted four major causes for black under-representation.
The socio-economic situation in which many UK born black people find themselves. UK Black-Caribbean and Black-African individuals experience higher rates of unemployment are more likely to become victims of crime and underperform in education when compared to white counterparts and other ethnic minority groups.
Should these individuals achieve a good education they are less likely to be successful in securing their preferred roles. They are also either not attracted to asset management due to its perceived lack of diversity or in many cases simply not aware.
When these black individuals do break into the industry they typically end up in support functions, have higher rates of attrition and rarely progress to leadership or revenue generating positions. At the time of writing we can identify fourteen black portfolio managers, three heads of distribution and only two black professionals in C-Suite positions.
Finally, whereas people are generally comfortable discussing issues relating to gender and more increasingly sexual orientation, race remains a taboo subject.
Unwinding the kinks
We are pursuing a range of solutions to overcome these challenges:
The creation of an after-school program aimed at secondary school children which will equip them with the knowledge, tools, connections and more importantly aspiration to enter the fund management industry.
We are exploring a pilot program with the City of London Corporation initially working with one school in Hackney, Tower Hamlets or Southwark targeting children aged 11.
An annual student event to identify and attract promising minority talent to the industry.
Mentoring circles led by senior ethnic minority professionals aimed at minority professionals with 1-10 years’ experience.
A 5-point CEO plan which will equip business leaders with a blueprint to increasing black talent within their organisations.
#talkaboutblack utilises thought leadership, roundtable debates, panel discussions, online videos, mainstream/trade media and social media to break the taboo subject that is race in our industry and society.