In Focus: Future Talent  

Helena Morrissey launches portfolio management diversity programme

Helena Morrissey launches portfolio management diversity programme
Baroness Helena Morrissey, chair of the Diversity Project

Baroness Helena Morrissey has launched a cross-industry programme to boost female participation in portfolio management roles.

Morrissey, chair of the Diversity Project, has spearheaded the organisation's latest initiative with backing from 34 member firms.

Currently 88 per cent of money management roles are held by men.

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The Diversity Programme hopes this initiative will help “unlock” female talent in order to address the absence of women in portfolio-management roles. 

The ‘Pathway Programme’ has 60 women interested in pursuing a career in portfolio management currently onboard from 33 firms. 

On average, the participants have seven years of experience each, 78 per cent are in an investment-related role while 22 per cent work in other areas including sales, trading and change management.

Commenting on the need for the programme, Baroness Morrissey said: “When I began my fund management career as a graduate trainee over three decades ago, I was blissfully ignorant about its reputation as a white, male, middle-class industry,”

“Whilst the situation has thankfully improved since then, women are still woefully underrepresented in fund manager roles, which we are on a mission to change.” 

Morrissey added that she hopes the pathway programme will “finally solve the decades-old problem of too few female fund managers”.

The programme will be made up of interactive sessions on technical and behavioural skills and will give participants networking opportunities with like minded peers and senior fund managers.

Participants will include staff from HSBC Alternatives. The firm's chief executive Joanna Munro said from speaking to the participants, she knows what a difference the programme is going to make to them.

“They may be a fund manager assistant who couldn’t see how to navigate to a portfolio management role or a great talent who missed out on university because of family circumstances. 

"The Diversity Project Pathway really is creating opportunities that simply haven’t existed for these women before,” Munro said.