Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM), a nonprofit organization promoting the advancement of Black women working in the asset management industry, added Ares Management, BlackRock, Federated Hermes, Helios Investment Partners, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, M&G, Maniyar Capital, Morningstar and State Street Global Advisors as new institutional members.

Black women remain vastly underrepresented at all levels within the investment industry. A 2019 report by the Investment Association showed that less than 1% of investment managers in the UK are Black. BWAM aims to drive positive change by providing Black women with tools needed to thrive, while also encouraging firms to create more inclusive environments. Formed in 2019, the organization has quickly become a valuable community for investment professionals, lawyers, consultants, administrators and other advisors in the asset management field. To date, BWAM has more than 700 members.

“Our new institutional members represent over USD 17 trillion of AUM in the global asset management industry,” Jacqueline Taiwo, chair and co-founder of BWAM, said. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with a wide cohort of investment firms to advance BWAM’s mission to connect and empower Black women working across the investment ecosystem. Their support will accelerate BWAM’s impact in 2022, allowing the organization to bring in new resources and offer more career development, networking and visibility opportunities for Black women in asset management. We also look forward to expanding our existing outreach initiatives to encourage more young Black women to pursue careers in investment.”

Institutional membership in BWAM provides firms with a number of benefits to enhance diversity strategies, including access to exclusive roundtables that offer fresh insight on how to recruit, retain and advance Black women in their organizations. These roundtables are facilitated by diversity, equity and inclusion experts and explore important topics such as psychological safety, allyship and inclusive leadership.

“Ares is committed to building meaningful relationships with partners who focus on advancing diversity, equity & inclusion in our industry and communities, and we are very excited to work with Black Women in Asset Management to help drive systemic change in our industry,” Indhira Arrington, managing director and global chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at Ares Management, said. “We look forward to furthering the mission of ensuring Black women have access to the support and resources necessary to flourish in their careers.”

“At BlackRock, we are committed to helping build a better, fairer society and the mission of Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM) is firmly aligned with our diversity, equity & inclusion strategy,” Justine Anderson, EMEA chief operating officer at BlackRock, said. “We know that empowering young Black women in the early stages of their careers is essential for advancing and retaining Black women leaders, whose positive impact within our workforce drives improved outcomes for our clients, our shareholders and all our stakeholders. That is why we are excited to sponsor BWAM and work together to drive the positive impact of the talented Black women who work in asset management.”

“Federated Hermes are thrilled to partner with Black Women in Asset Management,” Eoin Murray, head of investment at Federated Hermes, said. “Advancing and retaining black women across all areas of the investment industry is critical to securing the diverse and inclusive workforce that will improve outcomes for our clients.”

“Helios is pleased to join the Black Women in Asset Management organization as an institutional member and sponsor,” Christina Drews, partner, chief operating officer and member of executive committee at Helios, said. “In addition to this new partnership, Helios recently became a signatory of ILPA’s Diversity in Action initiative, reflecting our longstanding commitment to gender equality and increasing representation not only at our own firm, but also within our portfolio companies. As a pioneering investor on the African continent and certified B Corporation, over 60% of our staff come from minority ethnic backgrounds and 40% is female. Joining BWAM will further our engagement in empowering Black women working across the investment ecosystem.”

“M&G is very proud to sponsor Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM),” Mark McLane, director of diversity, inclusion and well-being at M&G, said. “We’re committed to creating an inclusive culture and, with our goal of 40% of senior leaders to be women and 20% to be from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background by 2025, we share BWAM’s ambitions. We look forward to working with BWAM to support women from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds to advance their careers within asset management and the wider finance industry.”

“We are very pleased to partner with BWAM as a part of Maniyar Capital’s commitment to diversity,” Dhamesh Maniyar, CEO of Maniyar Capital, said. “We believe that a diverse team, broadly defined, enables our firm to work at its highest potential, which in turn leads to the best possible outcomes for our clients. We look forward to working with BWAM as we seek diverse and talented candidates for positions at our firm.”

“I am proud that Morningstar has become a corporate partner of Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM),” Paul Malone, head of Morningstar UK & executive sponsor for EMEA Black, Caribbean & African Employee Resource Group, said. “We aim to provide a workplace that welcomes, celebrates, invests in, and empowers all. Through this partnership, we will work with BWAM to advance and encourage women from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds to pursue new and existing careers within the wider finance industry, as well as in asset management.”