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Black women call on firms to go beyond BLM statements

fund management diversityA UK group called Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM) has called on investment firms to go “beyond the earlier solidarity statements” issued this year during the Black Lives Matter events and take meaningful action.

BWAM has written an open letter to the industry calling for action to “dismantle systemic racism”.

BWAM has over 300 members and was formed in 2019. The open letter is published during Black History Month, to “keep these issues front and centre within the asset management industry”.

The open letter highlights findings from the McGregor Smith Review (2018), which reports that equal participation and progression across ethnicities would add £24 billion per year to the British economy, BWAM said.

BWAM added that additional studies show that closing the racial wealth gap in the US alone would create an additional $1 trillion in earnings and add $8 trillion to GDP.

“Dismantling systemic racism creates a more sustainable and equitable society, however, investment firms have been slow to see racism as a serious investment risk,” said Jacqueline Taiwo, co-founder of BWAM and associate general counsel at TowerBrook Capital Partners. “Our letter sets out actions I believe will lead to progress and give black women a greater voice in shaping investment decisions.”

The open letter makes five recommendations, which include building an “anti-racist investment portfolio” that promotes equity and justice, and expanding the pipeline of young black women entering investment careers

Adebanke Adeyemo, general counsel of Vantage Infrastructure and member of BWAM’s impact committee, said: “I believe BWAM's recommendations provide a meaningful framework to bring about long overdue change in our industry. I am publicly endorsing this letter in my personal capacity because I know that many of my peers may not feel empowered to do so. I have been in that position in the past and I understand it. "BWAM has given a voice to our collective views where individually many may struggle to speak out. For our organisation, the future we seek, is more important than our present circumstance.”

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