Having just celebrated National Inclusion Week, Investment Week believes now to be a poignant time to ask BAME and LGBTQ+ members of the asset management community what the industry can do next to help.
Not just over the course of a week, but over the long term. How can members of the industry serve as better allies? The answers we received for this week's front page feature - to be published on Monday - were insightful examples of the fact the dialogue is open, but nonetheless reminders that we need to do more to allow people to bring their ‘whole selves' to work.
This year has seen some spectacular highs and devastating lows. The murder of George Floyd shocked the world. The racist display from former Franklin Templeton executive Amy Cooper just three days later was a reminder the fight for equality is far from over.
But from these events, we have seen the industry rally together to help fight racial injustice through campaigns such as #IAM, which has been engaged with hundreds of thousands of times across social media. #IAM, which aims to allow black members of the asset management community and allies to create their own narratives, joins #TalkAboutBlack, an initiative launched two years ago to address the four kinks of the racial inequality hosepipe.
Indeed, amid harrowing tales of conflict in the mainstream media, positive steps are being taken within our industry to make our places of work more inclusive.
Earlier this year, The Diversity Project announced a new "scale of ambition" for women in asset management, targeting a 30% proportion of female fund managers and for the industry's gender pay gaps to be halved by 2030.
The Diversity Project also partnered with Women Returners this year to launch the Diversity Project: Cross-Company Returner Programme - a six-month returnship for experienced professionals looking to return to work after an extended career break.
In April, LGBT Great launched its Project 1000, Pride 2020 campaign as part of a five-year initiative aiming to spotlight 1,000 LGBTQ+ and supportive allies working on the buy side of the industry.
In terms of neurodiversity - promoting equal rights for those with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia or an autism spectrum disorder - several companies are leading the way, with Goldman Sachs launching its eight-week Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative. JP Morgan Chase's Autism at Work programme employs 175 people in eight countries, and the firm plans to employ several hundred more neurodiverse people over the next few years.
None of the above initiatives existed - or at the very least had minimal traction at best - five years ago. It is important to recognise the progress we have made as an industry.
But with the proportion of female fund managers hovering around 10% for the past four years, and just 1% of individuals in the asset management industry identifying as black, there is still work to be done. National Inclusion Week is an immensely important event to note in the calendar, but it is futile if the dialogue stops after the 4 October.