BWAM open letter calls on institutional investment firms to promote racial equality

Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM) has written an open letter to the asset management community calling on investment firms to promote racial equity through their investing activities. 

BWAM, (an industry organisation with over 300 members) formed in 2019, has become a valuable community for investment professionals, lawyers, consultants, administrators, and other advisors in the asset management field. The organisation has penned an open letter to encourage the investment community to go beyond the earlier solidarity statements issued during this year’s global reckoning on racism, and instead take meaningful action to dismantle systemic racism. It is deliberately being 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 GBP24 billion per year to the British economy. Additional studies show that closing the racial wealth gap in the US alone would create an additional USD1 trillion in earnings and add USD8 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,” says 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 for investment firms and institutional investors:

• Build an anti-racist investment portfolio that promotes equity and justice

• Expand the pipeline of young Black women entering investment careers

• Promote Black women to senior leadership positions

• Develop partnerships with Black women to support investment activities

• Advocate for policy changes that dismantles systemic racism in society

The letter has been endorsed online by BWAM members and will remain open for additional members and industry leaders to add their support.

Adebanke Adeyemo, General Counsel of Vantage Infrastructure and member of BWAM’s Impact Committee, adds: “I believe BWAM's recommendations provide a meaningful framework to bring about long overdue change in our industry. I am publicly endorsing this letter because I know that many of my peers may not feel empowered to do so. I have been there in my career and I understand it. BWAM has given a voice to our collective views where individually many may struggle to speak out. For us, the future we seek, is more important than our present circumstance."

BWAM encourages senior leaders to consider how the strategies presented in this letter can be incorporated within their organisations to create a more sustainable and just society.