Super industry gets behind diversity project

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Future IM/Pact, an industry-supported group which looks to increase gender and other aspects of diversity within funds management, has signed two new partners ahead of its first major student networking events for 2019, which are happening in Sydney and Melbourne this week.

The two new supporters are Challenger and Macquarie Securities which have joined the campaign aimed at attracting more diverse talent into investment management with an initial focus on women. They join 12 other super funds, fund managers and industry participants who are providing a pathway for students and early career aspirants to build their career prospects in this high growth and hugely influential sector.

Chris Plater, chief executive and CIO of Challenger Life, said the firm’s decision to join the project reflects its ongoing commitment to building diverse teams. He said: “We realised that attracting women into our business requires grassroots education about what a career in investments offers. We’re delighted to be working alongside other industry leaders to raise the profile of this profession and provide meaningful opportunities for young people to get a foot in the door.”

For Macquarie Securities, Kristen Edmond, the head of research, said the opportunity to work alongside key fund manager clients across their Sydney and Melbourne offices to solve “this entrenched issue” was a significant drawcard.

“Addressing an industry-wide challenge like this requires collaboration across all aspects of industry. It’s refreshing to be able to partner with our clients to implement practical solutions aimed at building our future talent pipeline,” he said.

Yolanda Beattie, the founder of Future IM/Pact, said new partners brought funding and scale to grow the campaign, and work experience and employment opportunities to the hundreds of students who were engaging with the campaign.

“We’re seeing overwhelming demand for our student networking events with over 250 students expected at our events this week and about the same amount having to be turned away due to venue capacity constraints,” she said.

Future IM/Pact will run events on March 18 in Melbourne and March 19 in Sydney aimed at helping students understand the impact that investors have on the economy and the opportunities for young women to build a thriving career in this sector.

The Melbourne keynote speaker is Mark Middleton, group chief executive of Icon Group, a QIC-backed private equity investment. Gail Williamson, ‘chief growth officer’ for WiseTech Global and Yasmin Allan, non-executive director of ASX Ltd and Cochlear, will headline the Sydney event.

Future IM/Pact was launched in July last year with founding partners: Mercer, AustralianSuper, Future Fund, HESTA, QIC, Cbus Super, NAB Asset Management, Pendal Group, Magellan and Wavestone. Since then, Nikko Asset Management, Fidelity International, Yarra Capital Management, Challenger and Macquarie Securities have joined the project.

– G.B.

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