The Investment Association’s talent solution, Investment20/20, and #TalkAboutBlack have partnered for the launch of a cross-industry mentoring programme for senior black professionals in investment management.

Coinciding with Black History Month, the programme is focused on empowering black talent at all levels in investment management.

The pilot scheme brings together 16 senior black professionals with roughly 15 or more years of experience in the industry including John Adu, executive director and co-head of ETF distribution at JP Morgan Asset Management, and 16 C-suite industry leaders from different investment management companies.

The development aims to harness the experience of the 16 C-suite professionals and enable senior black professionals to develop, thrive and progress into their senior executive roles.

Furthermore, it will allow the mentors to learn the experiences of black people from within the industry.

The mentors selected includes Rachel Lord, senior managing director and head of EMEA at BlackRock.

Karis Stander, managing director of Investment20/20, said: “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.

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 mentoring is expected to last for at least one year, or to the point where the relationship reaches a natural conclusion.

Both parties will organise regular sessions as part of the programme, with a recommended frequency of every eight weeks.

Expert Investors: Justin Onuekwusi of LGIM

On behalf of #talkaboutblack, Justin Onuekwusi (pictured), head of retail multi-asset at Legal & General Investment Management, added: “The dearth of ethnic minority representation at the C-suite level within the investment industry is sadly all too well known.

“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.”