8 March, 2022 / Analysis

Two women investment programmes launch on International Women’s Day

Diversity Project and CFA Institute aim to increase gender diversity in the industry

Two women investment programmes launch on International Women’s Day

Two women investment programmes have been launched this International Women’s Day: Diversity Project’s women fund managers course and a CFA women investment programme.

The Diversity Project’s Future Female Fund Managers Programme aims to help the industry group meet a target of 20% women fund managers by 2026 by offering training created by 10 investment firms: HSBC Asset Management, Schroders, BGF, JO Hambro Capital Management, Fidelity International, Newton Investment Management, abrdn, Aviva Investors, Artemis, and Columbia Threadneedle. The group hopes more will sign up before the course launches in 2023.

In 2020 the diversity group said it would target a 50/50 gender split of individuals in fund management roles, and halve the investment industry’s gender pay gaps, by 2030.

Each participant of the new programme will have a sponsor from her firm and be coached in cultural barriers, allyship and overcoming challenges. The programme will offer a mix of online and in-person training, and will be suitable for both recent entrants, or women with more experience – working as an assistant, alternate or junior fund manager.

The firms involved so far have called the programme a ‘need’ for the industry, with numbers of women portfolio managers remaining staunchly at one in 10. “This programme is what the industry needs for a step change in female fund manager numbers,” said Joanna Munro, global CEO HSBC alternatives at HSBC Asset Management.

Mitesh Sheth, CIO for multi-asset at Newton, added: “In addition to the initiatives we already run within our own firms, we need to collaborate as an industry to develop a new generation of female fund managers.”

CFA programme

The second educational effort launching on International Women’s Day is the expansion of the CFA Institute’s Young Women in In Investment programme to France, the UK and Spain.

Running in India, Qatar and Brazil, the programme, which began in 2018, is an annual initiative where selected women from any educational discipline, and who are final-year students graduating or graduated, participate in a training programme to gain exposure to the investment management industry through an immersive working experience. It features a four-week intensive boot camp that includes online classroom sessions on core finance and business skills, followed by an internship for a period of three to six months at a reputed financial institution.

Internships are currently offered by AXA IM, BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Bradesco Asset Management, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, State Street, Itaú Investment Services and more.

“As an industry, we need to find women who have not been attracted to our industry and welcome them to a career,” said Sarah Maynard, global head, external diversity, equity, and inclusion at CFA Institute.

Frédéric Clément, global head of human resources at AXA Investment Managers, added: “Attracting women into investment roles and retaining them in the asset management industry is key. We are proud to support CFA Institute in their critical efforts to bring greater diversity to the investment management industry.”

A part of the Mark Allen Group.