Dawid Konotey-Ahulu is optimistic that the U.K. investment industry is finally facing up to the fact that it needs to address racial injustice.
The May death of George Floyd by police has opened the door to conversations, with money managers and institutional investors waking up to the roles they need to play in order to effect change.
"We are in the middle of a movement for social change. These movements come along every now and again — we've seen them before," he said.
London-based Mr. Konotey-Ahulu, who is well known in institutional investment circles as co-founder of investment consultant Redington Ltd. and pension fund online community Mallowstreet, has been calling on money managers to "talk about Black" for years, posting his first call to action on YouTube in 2018.
But his calls have largely gone unheeded. "The industry until now … has not been on top of this particular issue. It has talked about it, it has danced around it, it's brushed up against it. It's had the conversations at some level — but it somehow never made it," he said. "George Floyd has changed everything. It's impossible to ignore it anymore."
Social movements have spilled over into the investment industry before, Mr. Konotey-Ahulu said. He cited the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in 2010 in response to corruption and ill treatment by police, which led to protests and spurred the Arab Spring; American actress Alyssa Milano's 2017 tweet that went viral and energized the global #MeToo movement; and Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg's protest in 2018, as key triggers over the years. And on May 25, Mr. Floyd's death marked the beginning of another movement.
"All of these I see as these butterflies that flap their wings and they trigger a hurricane on the other side of the world," he said.
And now is the time for racial injustice to be addressed, specifically through the lens of Black inequality, Mr. Konotey-Ahulu said.