Justin Onuekwusi, head of retail multi-asset funds at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his work promoting and campaigning for diversity in the asset management industry.
The prestigious honour, which dates back to 1237 and has been awarded to the likes of Bill Gates, Florence Nightingale and Nelson Mandela, is one of the oldest-surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence and is awarded to those who have achieved success or recognition in their chosen field.
Onuekwusi, who has worked at LGIM for seven years, is co-founder of the Diversity Project and its #TalkAboutBlack campaign, which aims to address the "four kinks in the hosepipe" that are preventing racial equality from being achieved in the asset management industry.
Last month, Onuekwusi joined forces with BlackRock's Gavin Lewis and Impax's Darren Johnson to launch the #IAM social media campaign in order to break down racial stereotyping and allow black members of the asset management community - and allies - to define their own identities and narratives.
Within the first fortnight, the hashtag was used more than 46,000 times on LinkedIn alone.
Onuekwusi has also multiple awards for his mentoring and advocacy in the industry. Last year, he featured in the Empower Ethnic Minority Executives list and, in 2018, he won the Invest in Ethnicity BAME Future Leader award.
Upon being awarded the Freedom of the City of London, he said: "This honour is a true testament to the hard work and dedication shown by our entire LGIM team to bring about real progress on diversity and inclusion within the wider industry which in turn will deliver excellent investment management services for our clients.
"In particular, the support I have had in working with the Diversity Project and co-founding the brilliant TalkAboutBlack movement will help in raising awareness, leading to an increase in representation and ultimately creating a level playing field for all.
"We are proud of what we have achieved so far but there is still more work to do. We are committed to do what we can to create a more inclusive culture in the industry and beyond."