Leading fund managers have come together to back a new initiative designed to address the "chronic underrepresentation" of black talent across UK financial institutions.
The scheme, #100blackinterns, seeks to give "meaningful opportunities" to young, university-educated black people who are trying to break into the City, with roles in "critically important" teams that make decisions "worth billions of pounds".
According to a 2018 study by New Financial, there are only 12 black portfolio managers in the entire UK investment management industry, and #100blackinterns is premised on the idea that providing 100 paid internships to young black candidates "ought to lead to a measurable increase" in the number of black portfolio managers in the long term.
To date, 80 firms have committed to offering a paid internship lasting a minimum of six weeks in areas including long only and hedge funds, private equity, credit and real estate managers, along with consultants and pension funds, with more firms expected to sign up in the coming weeks.
Applications are welcome from black university students from any academic discipline and year group, including those on gap years, and those who have graduated since 2019. Applications comprise a one page CV and cover letter of up to 400words, with a deadline of 13 November.
Individuals looking to apply to #100blackinterns and companies who wish to become a part of the scheme can apply here.
The initiative is being co-ordinated by Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of Redington and Mallowstreet, Jonathan Sorrell, president of Capstone Investment Advisors, Michael Barrington-Hibbert, founder and managing partner of Barrington Hibbert Associates and Wol Kolade, managing partner of Livingbridge.
Sorrell said: "We felt we wanted to do something really tangible to build a bench of compelling black talent in our industry for the long-term. By providing such a special entry point into portfolio management, we hope to attract great black students to a career path they may not have otherwise contemplated."
Konotey-Ahulu, added: "In over two decades in the City, I have rarely come across anyone who looks like me. It is so powerful that the investment management industry has agreed to help welcome more black talent into our industry. We hope other professions will follow suit and have an impact on the representation of black talent in their own industries."
Kolade said: "The support for this initiative from the industry has been absolutely terrific. If there are other firms we have not yet contacted that would like to provide an internship, they would be very welcome to join the programme."
Barrington-Hibbert added: "We want as many applications as possible from black university students - those at university, about to start or graduated since 2019 - from any academic discipline, who might be interested in a career managing investments. This is a really unique opportunity to gain exposure to the role at one of the world's leading firms."