Seema Hingorani, managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and the former CIO of the $253.4 billion New York City Retirement Systems, has earned a place in the pantheon of French society for her efforts to improve diversity in the money management industry.
New York-based Ms. Hingorani caught the attention of the French Consulate in New York for her work with the non-profit organization Girls Who Invest, which she founded, and was awarded the Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor for it.
Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and retained by all of France's subsequent leaders, the Legion of Honor decoration is the country's highest order of merit for military and civilian accomplishments including sports, arts and education.
Among the objectives of French President Emmanuel Macron's platform is gender equality, so Ms. Hingorani, who said she is the first Asian American to receive the honor, was recognized for her work to help increase the number of women in portfolio management and leadership roles.
Girls Who Invest offers summer training programs to female students from U.S. universities and colleges in investing and business etiquette and pairs them with money management firms in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada for paid internships.
Ms. Hingorani said the initiative took off beyond her expectation, with the latest edition of the program receiving 2,000 applications for 177 spots.
"It's not just about investment content but also boosting their confidence," said Ms. Hingorani in an interview, who added that she would love for more young women to choose money management as a profession.
Since 2015, Girls Who Invest has introduced 500 female students to money management. Ms. Hingorani said that 80% of alumni plan to continue their career in the industry.
Katherine Jollon Colsher, CEO of Girls Who Invest, said in a news release: "In just a few short years, (Ms. Hingorani has) helped shine a light on the need and (the) importance for greater diversity and has sparked an industrywide dialogue that has only gained steam as time goes on."