The Diversity Project has launched its ‘Pathway’ programme, which aims to provide prospective female portfolio managers with more opportunities to progress in the industry.
Led by Diversity Project chair Helena Morrissey (pictured), the initiative is backed by 34 member firms.
Morrissey, who spent over 30 years in the industry, said: “When I began my fund management career as a graduate trainee over three decades ago, I was blissfully ignorant about its reputation as a white, male, middle-class industry. While the situation has thankfully improved since then, women are still woefully underrepresented in fund manager roles, which we are on a mission to change.”
Currently, 88% of money-managing roles are occupied by men.
“This programme has the potential to be revolutionary for the asset management industry. Not only will it unlock hidden talent from across the industry and provide today’s emerging female portfolio managers with the skills and confidence they need to succeed, it will also create a cohort of female portfolio managers who will navigate their careers together and provide an example for generations to follow,” Morrissey added.
Taking part in the inaugural year are 60 women interested in pursuing a career in portfolio management.
Pathway will provide interactive sessions on technical and behavioural skills while offering networking opportunities with likeminded female peers, senior female fund managers and industry leaders.
The participants average seven years’ industry experience, with 78% in an investment-related role, while 22% currently hold roles in areas including sales and trading.
Joanna Munro, HSBC Alternatives chief executive, said: “From my own discussions with our participants, I know what a difference this programme is going to make for women in our industry. They may be a fund manager assistant who couldn’t see how to navigate to a portfolio management role or a great talent who missed out on university because of family circumstances. The Diversity Project Pathway really is creating opportunities that simply haven’t existed for these women before.”
Dhana Mariappan, Pathway participant and European high yield analyst at Axa Investment Managers, added: “I feel honoured to be part of the Pathway programme which has been carefully curated by women in the industry to empower and enable the next generation of women in finance.
“I look forward to learning from the experts through the bespoke curriculum they have put together and working with like-minded people within the industry to not only accelerate my career but also to be a part of this movement aiming to make meaningful and sustainable progress towards improving gender equality within the finance industry.”