A group of 80 pension funds and money managers are backing an initiative to address the "chronic underrepresentation" of Black talent in financial institutions in the U.K.
The initiative, #100blackinterns, will see signatories supporting young, university-educated Black people who are trying to break into London's financial industry given meaningful opportunities, a news release said Monday.
The firms — including hedge funds, private equity and real estate managers, consultants and pension funds — will offer paid internships to a Black candidate next summer in a frontline investment role. Such roles will be within "critically important investment teams that make key decisions worth billions of pounds," the release said.
The initiative aims to address the results of a 2018 study by think tank New Financial, which found there are only 12 Black portfolio managers in the entire U.K. investment industry. The premise is that, by providing 100 internships for Black candidates each year, there should be a measurable increase in the number of Black portfolio managers in the long-term.
The program is coordinated by Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of consultant Redington and online pension fund forum Mallowstreet; Jonathan Sorrell, president of alternatives firm Capstone Investment Advisors; Michael Barrington-Hibbert, founder and managing partner of executive search firm Barrington Hibbert Associates; and Wol Kolade, managing partner of private equity firm Livingbridge.
"In over two decades in the City, I have rarely come across anyone who looks like me," Mr. Konotey-Ahulu said in the release. "It is so powerful that the investment management industry has agreed to help welcome more Black talent into our industry. We hope other professions will follow suit and have an impact on the representation of Black talent in their own industries."
Also in the release, Mr. Sorrell said: "We felt we wanted to do something really tangible to build a bench of compelling Black talent in our industry for the long-term. By providing such a special entry point into portfolio management, we hope to attract great Black students to a career path they may not have otherwise contemplated."
Black university students from any academic discipline and from any year group — including those on gap years and who have graduated since 2019 — are welcome to apply by Nov. 13. Internships will run for a minimum of six weeks beginning next summer. Further details can be found on the #100blackinterns website.
Other signatories include CPP Investments, which runs the assets of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, which had C$434.4 billion ($317.8 billion) in assets as of June 30; the £30 billion ($39.2 billion) Railways Pension Scheme, London; and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which had £67.6 billion ($83.8 billion) in assets as of March 31.