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Needed: Women Investment Management Professionals

Mixed-gender investment management teams bring much-needed diversity of thought to the investment process and improve investment performance, studies, including our own at CFA Institute, show. Yet the number of women in the investment management industry is low and in decline.

To reverse this trend, CFA Institute, the largest global association of investment professionals, has established the Women in Investment Management (WIM) initiative, co-founded by Leah Bennett, CFA, President of Wealth Management for Westwood Holdings in Houston, and Margaret Franklin, CFA, President, BNY Mellon Wealth Management Canada.

The goals of the WIM initiative are to:

  • increase the number of women who join the profession and earn the CFA charter
  • retain women in the profession and influence culture from within
  • create demand for diversity as an industry imperative
  • provide scholarships for women who want to become CFA charterholders

CFA Institute also partners with industry leaders who share common WIM, diversity, and inclusion goals. These leaders include global asset managers, top universities worldwide, and organizations such as the Forté Foundation and Girls Who Invest. The partnerships range from events, programs, and thought leadership, to exploring professional development and ethics training opportunities.

Moving the Needle

Though the investment management industry isn’t “there” yet regarding gender diversity and equity, and more broadly, diversity and inclusion, progress is being made. At CFA Institute, we’re seeing a steady increase in the number of women candidates taking our exams in the past few years, and our Board of Governors will comprise 33% women come September, with two women set to lead the Board in the next two years. We’re also working diligently to advance our internal diversity and inclusion efforts.

We will continue our work to grow the percentage of women in the profession and to ensure the investment management industry is welcoming for all. We invite you to be part that journey. Join our CFA Institute WIM Network on LinkedIn, explore our CFA Program, and attend our Diversity & Inclusion 2018: Strategies for Success Conference this September in San Francisco. Forté Foundation members can enjoy a $100 discount by entering the code FORTE when they register. When combined with the $200 discount for early registration, by 3 August, total savings are $300.

The global Diversity & Inclusion 2018 Conference will feature:

  • two expert panels, one for early career professionals, and one for those striving for the C-Suite
  • the launch of our Diversity & Inclusion Best Practices Guide (an industry guide that will include a culmination of our roundtable meetings convened with top firms and organizations, together with our members and societies, to discuss D&I best practices and challenges in the investment management industry)
  • networking opportunities with peers and senior executives from all sectors of the industry); and
  • the opportunity to take a selfie with State Street Global Advisors’ Fearless Girl statue, and to learn about the impact the Fearless Girl campaign is having on the gender diversity of corporate boards

Lynn Blake, CFA and CIO of Global Equity Beta Solutions at State Street Global Advisors, will also participate in the conference, providing her expertise on the C-Suite panel. With the firm since 1987, Blake oversees assets in excess of $1.6 trillion across all equity index and smart beta strategies.

Blake is one of the many exemplary women CFA charterholders who hold top posts at top institutions across all sectors of the industry — global asset managers, institutional investors, universities, agencies, and private wealth firms. Among them are Presidents, Executive VPs, CIOs, Senior VPs for Thought Leadership, and Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Culture Officers. The work they do — to use finance for social good — reflects the value of the CFA charter. It’s a designation the Financial Times endorsed as the industry gold standard in 2010 and that Forbes likened to the “Praetorian Guard, the best of the best” just last month. And it’s our call to action for all investment management professionals: “Let’s Measure Up!

About CFA Institute

The mission of CFA Institute is to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society. As a global, independent organization, we play a role in being a steward and champion of the investment management industry. We continue to set industry standards and raise the bar on a global scale through a suite of programs and a commitment to integrity. We have over 152,000 members in 165 countries. The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) credential is the professional standard of choice for more than 31,000 investment firms worldwide. Find out more on our CFA Program and the impact it can have on your career.