Mentoring programme launched to increase number of black professionals in the c-suite

Investment20/20 and #talkaboutblack team up to pair investment management leaders with senior black professionals

Two UK groups Investment20/20 and #talkaboutblack have come together to launch a mentoring programme to encourage more senior black professionals within the investment management industry into senior executive teams.

Investment20/20, the programme for attracting talent to the investment industry run by the Investment Association, and #talkaboutblack, the movement founded in 2018 by the Diversity Project to build cross-industry black leaders, have created the mentoring programme to empower black talent at all levels in investment management.

As part of the pilot scheme, 16 black professionals with experience of around 15 years in the industry will be paired with 16 c-suite leaders from different investment management companies. These include Schroders’ CEO Peter Harrison, Jupiter CEO Andrew Formica, LGIM CEO Michelle Scrimgeour and Rachel Lord, head of EMEA at BlackRock.

See also: – Improving diversity; improving returns

It is hoped the programme will help the participants build long-term trusted relationships while allowing senior black professionals to develop, thrive and progress into senior executive roles. A statement added the programme will also benefit the mentors by allowing them insight into the experiences of black people in the industry.

The programme is expected to last for at least one year, with both parties organising regular sessions around every eight weeks. There will be also be an annual networking event with other leaders on the programme for mentees to further build their contacts and investment industry network.

On behalf of #talkaboutblack, Justin Onuekwusi, (pictured) head of retail multi-asset funds at Legal & General Investment Management, who is also among the 16 mentees, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Investment20/20 on this important initiative. The dearth of ethnic minority representation at the c-suite level within the investment industry is sadly all too well known. This becomes even more stark when looking at black people. There are a handful of black leaders in the industry, all of whom are very talented. However, unless we see any form of progress to the senior executive level, we risk a lost generation of potential candidates.

“It is time for the investment industry to put allegiances to one side and stand together to solve this challenge. Under-representation goes well beyond company loyalties. The investment industry is built on creating solutions to problems. We must come together as one to solve this.”

Meanwhile, Karis Stander, managing director of Investment20/20, added: “The absence of black representation within our industry’s senior leadership is striking, and so deliberate and meaningful action needs to be taken to address this imbalance. We simply cannot serve our diverse society effectively if our senior leadership teams don’t reflect the people we serve.

“That is why today I am proud to launch our cross-industry black leaders mentoring and reverse mentoring programme alongside #talkaboutblack. From our industry’s executive leaders, the cross transfer of skills, knowledge and experience will help provide a catalyst for senior black professionals to progress to the very top.”

The following 16 individuals have been selected to act as mentors for the pilot:

  • Matthew Beesley – CIO, Artemis
  • Caroline Connellan – CEO, Brooks MacDonald
  • Cuan Coulter – Head of State Street Global Advisors EMEA
  • Jonathan DeSimone – CEO Designate, Alcentra
  • Philippe D’Orgeval – Head of UK, AXA IM
  • Andrew Formica – CEO, Jupiter AM
  • Peter Harrison – CEO, Schroders
  • Pete Horrell – Chair & CEO of Fidelity Holdings (UK) Ltd
  • Tjalling Halbertsma (TJ) – Managing Director, Eaton Vance Management International, CEO Eaton Vance International
  • Rick Lacaille – EVP & Global CIO, State Street Global Advisors
  • Rachel Lord – Senior Managing Director, Head of EMEA, BlackRock
  • Joanna Munro – CIO, HSBC GAM
  • Michelle Scrimgeour – CEO, LGIM
  • Keith Skeoch – Chairman ASI Research Institute, Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Patrick Thomson – CEO EMEA, JP Morgan AM
  • Richard Watts – CIO, BMO GAM

The following 16 individuals have been selected to be mentored for the pilot:

  • John Adu – Executive Director, Co-Head of ETF Distribution, JP Morgan AM
  • Obe Ejikeme – Fund Manager, Quantitative Equity Analyst, Carmignac
  • Hywel Franklin – Fund Manager, Head of European Equities, Mirabaud
  • Ovo Gharoro – Head of Investment Data Strategy, M&G
  • Marisa Hall – Co-Head of Thinking Ahead Institute, Willis Towers Watson
  • Nicolas Janvier – Fund Manager, Head of US Equities, EMEA, Columbia Threadneedle Investments
  • Didier Lambert – Fund Manager, Managing Director, JP Morgan AM
  • Gavin Lewis – Managing Director, Head of UK LGPS, BlackRock
  • Henry Odogwu – Managing Director, Head of UK Institutional Sales, iShares &Wealth, BlackRock
  • Remi Olu-Pitan – Fund Manager, Global Head of Multi-Asset Income, Schroders
  • Justin Onuekwusi – Fund Manager, Head of Retail Multi-Asset Funds, LGIM
  • Kassie Siwo-Gasa – Head of Digital Marketing, LGIM
  • Rose St. Louis – Director, KPMG
  • Jacqueline Taiwo – Associate General Counsel, TowerBrook Capital Partners
  • Vannessa Whitehead – Risk & Compliance Investments Technical Manager, EMEA, Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Daryl Wright – Executive Board Member, Head of Product & Investment Management, Lumyna Investments


Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...