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First-of-its-kind ‘Future Female Fund Managers Programme’ set to move the dial on diversity

The Diversity Project is launching a first-of-its-kind Future Female Fund Managers Programme – an industry wide effort to address the under-representation of women in fund management.

Commitment to improving gender diversity in fund management is high but results so far have been disappointing. Today just one in ten portfolio managers are women.

The Diversity Project has set its sights on doubling this number – targeting 20% female fund managers by 2026 – through more targeted interventions to address industry-specific challenges.

The Future Female Fund Managers Programme aims to help more women succeed in a career in fund management by putting an emphasis on the skills needed beyond technical competence, therefore complementing the existing CFA qualification.

The initiative will be unique in that it will be developed and delivered by the industry for the industry – with ten firms already confirming their involvement HSBC Asset Management, Schroders, BGF, JO Hambro Capital Management, Fidelity International, Newton Investment Management, abrdn, Aviva Investors, Artemis, and Columbia Threadneedle, with more set to sign up more in the lead up to launch in January 2023.

Women will learn digital skills, how to navigate through cultural barriers and life events, how to create allies and long-term sponsors, and overcome challenges when the only woman in the room. Trainers will include Diversity Project leaders and ambassadors, current and former female fund managers, executive coaches, and male allies – who are key in championing change.

Baroness Helena Morrissey, Chair of the Diversity Project, comments:

“Workplace culture has changed considerably for the better over the three decades since I entered the sector as a graduate trainee, yet women still remain woefully underrepresented in the field of fund management. We need a programme that is very targeted to correct that – otherwise it just won’t happen.

The Future Female Fund Managers Programme will identify women with the ambition and aptitude to become fund managers, and ensure they have every chance of success. A key element is that each participant will have a sponsor back at her firm, to champion her and ensure there is no mismatch between her growing skillset and her opportunities to progress.”

Mitesh Sheth MBE, Chief Investment Officer for Multi-Asset, at Newton Investment Management:

“We are delighted to be a founding member of the Future Female Fund Managers Programme. As we look to improve our industry post- pandemic, we know that we can offer more flexibility to men and women that we ever thought was possible. 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. I hope that this programme empowers women that are already working in support, distribution or consulting roles, to have the confidence to take on fund management positions and thrive.”

Peter Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Schroders, comments:

“Schroders is delighted to be a founding supporter of this great initiative to tackle the obstinate problem of a scarcity of female fund managers. We look forward to working with the Diversity Project and seeing more women become fund managers as a result of the targeted programme.”

Joanna Munro, Global CEO HSBC Alternatives, HSBC Asset Management, comments:

“This programme is what the industry needs for a step change in female fund manager numbers. I’m so pleased HSBC AM is involved at the launch of this initiative.”

Tanya Tracey, Chief Executive Officer, Girls Are INvestors, comments:

“This programme is what young women need to continue progressing once they have joined the industry. GAIN is fully supportive.”

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.

There is no restriction on the number of participants, provided they each have a sponsor from within the firm. Women that complete the programme with a positive endorsement from their sponsor, will be awarded a Diploma

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