‘Chronic under-representation’ of black talent in UK finance in sights of new PE-backed initiative

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A string of UK private equity houses are part of a new initiative to help fight what it describes as the chronic under-representation of black talent in British financial institutions.

A total of 80 firms are backing the #100blackinterns initiative, committing to offering a paid internship to a black candidate next summer in a frontline investment position.

The programme is designed to address the specific issue that, according to a 2018 study by New Financial, there are only 12 black portfolio managers in the entire UK investment management industry.

Its premise is that providing 100 internships for black candidates each year ought to lead to a measurable increase in the number of black portfolio managers in the long-term.

The initiative is being coordinated by Livingbridge managing partner Wol Kolade, pictured, alongside Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, the co-founder of Redington and Mallowstreet, Jonathan Sorrell, president of Capstone Investment Advisors, and Michael Barrington-Hibbert, founder and managing partner of Barrington Hibbert Associates.

Firms signed up to the scheme so far include private equity houses CVC, Bridgepoint, TA Assocaites, Carlyle, Coller Capital and Pantheon Capital, among others, as well as LP majors CPP Investments and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Konotey-Ahulu said, “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. We hope other professions will follow suit and have an impact on the representation of black talent in their own industries.”

Kolade added, “The support for this initiative from the industry has been absolutely terrific.

“If there are other firms we have not yet contacted that would like to provide an internship, they would be very welcome to join the programme.”

Applications are welcome from black university students from any academic discipline and from any year group, including those on gap years and those who have graduated since 2019.

Further details can be found at www.100blackinterns.com.

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