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City firms offer black graduates a first step on the ladder

A group of 80 asset management firms, including Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Schroders, have committed to offering at least one paid internship to a Black candidate next summer in a bid to re-address the chronic under-representation of black talent in the City.

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A group of 80 asset management firms, including Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Schroders, have committed to offering at least one paid internship to a Black candidate next summer in a bid to re-address the chronic under-representation of black talent in the City.

The initiative, #100blackinterns, comes as City firms face their poor record on ethnic diversity following the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in the US in May.

The initiative would see a black candidate placed in investment teams that make key decisions within the company for a minimum of six weeks. The programme is open to black university students from any discipline, and those on a gap year as well as graduates from 2019 are invited to apply. In a 17 August statement, the organisers said that the programme “Ought to lead to a measurable increase in the number of Black portfolio managers in the long-term”.

Legal & General and Standard Life Aberdeen are among the firms that have signed up to the #100BlackInterns initiative, aimed at helping young, university-educated black people break into the sector by placing them in frontline roles.

According to Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of pensions advisory group Redington and online pensions forum Mallowstreet, “In over two decades in the City, I have rarely come across anyone who looks like me.”

It is so powerful that the investment management industry has agreed to help welcome more Black talent into our industry,” Konotey-Ahulu added.

Others playing a leading role include Michael Barrington-Hibbert, founder and managing partner of executive search firm Barrington Hibbert Associates, and Wol Kolade, managing partner of mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge.

We want as many applications as possible from Black university students – those at University, about to start or graduated since 2019 – from any academic discipline, who might be interested in a career managing investments,” added Barrington-Hibbert. “This is a really unique opportunity to gain exposure to the role at one of the world’s leading firms.

A study in 2018 by the think tank New Financial showed that the industry was dominated by “white, middle class, straight men”, with only 12 black fund managers across the UK investment management profession. That is out of an estimated 3,000 fund managers, according to a spokesperson for the #100BlackInterns initiative.

Further information can be found at www.100blackinterns.com. The deadline for applicants is 5pm on 13 November.