The below speech was delivered by Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, at 100WF’s London Gala on February 13, 2019 at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Nearly 300 leaders from the financial services and alternative investment industry gathered to recognize Dame Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science with 100WF’s European Industry Leadership Award, and enjoy the presence and remarks of HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. At the Gala, £500,000 (gross) was raised for The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Mental Health Initiatives for Children and Young People.
The presentation of 100WF’s Effecting Change Award is an important 100WF Gala tradition that calls attention to an industry member who has created larger opportunities and better lives for others.
Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance
Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentleman,
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as 100 Women in Finance’s CEO over the years has been the opportunity to publicly recognize those in our industry who are on the front lines of creating more expansive opportunities for others.
Usually, for our Effecting Change Award, we identify a stand-out individual who has effected change related to our philanthropic theme for the year, and acknowledge her or his impact with an award.
This year, however, we have chosen a different course, and for good reason.
Tonight, we have gathered to celebrate the accomplishments and industry leadership of Dame Minouche Shafik, a woman who has reached Finance’s highest professional levels. While we, here in this room, honour Minouche in the abundant company of other successful, senior women, we should pause to reflect that, for most young women in our industry, the visibility of such senior, celebrated women is not so clear. For girls and young women who are still students, and forming career ambitions, the picture is even more opaque.
This is a problem and we aim to help fix it.
100 Women in Finance will play a direct role in sharpening sightlines – importantly for young women, but also for the media and for conference sponsors who shape public perspective about who gets to be seen as an expert.
Late last year, we challenged our members and all senior women in the finance industry to be more visible. We started with female portfolio managers. If you visit the front page of our website you’ll discover a growing, international, and public directory of female fund managers now numbering over 230. I hope that tomorrow morning, the first thing you’ll do is to check it out, and submit your details if you happen to be fund manager, or perhaps encourage a friend or colleague to do so.
100 Women in Finances also hosts high-demand investment conferences around the world to enable introductions between institutional capital allocators and female-managed or led funds. In doing so, we simultaneously serve the industry, the investor and the fund manager. We know that diversity in manager selection leads to stronger portfolios, better returns, deeper client satisfaction and greater equity in capital allocation.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our conferences this year. But more than that, we want you to make a larger commitment, specifically, to Fund Women.
In light of our initiatives, saying that “you can’t find the women” is no longer an excuse for anyone - the media, conference organizers, or capital allocators. To ignore the talent of female fund managers who are qualified, ready and desiring to grow their businesses is no longer acceptable.
For ten years now, 100 Women in Finance has worked to expand and deepen the pipeline of female investment talent ready to serve the industry with our Investing in the Next Generation Initiative, which addresses the interests of pre- and early-career women. Even with these efforts, these women will fulfill their potential only if they are funded to the level their talent deserves. We simply can not expect to grow the ranks of senior female investment professionals and executives if we fail to entrust them with client assets.
And so, we stand before you here tonight, as qualified, ready and visible Fund Women. Our simple, but critical expectation of you, and the firms you represent, is that you Fund Women.
In closing, I ask that all female fund managers, portfolio managers and women in senior investment roles please stand, for just a moment.
And now, please also rise if you are a female or male allocator, marketer, Manager Selection professional or institutional investor, who help place client assets with female portfolio managers.
Please join me in recognising female fund managers collectively, as the recipient of 100 Women in Finance’s Effecting Change Award.
And let’s take on the challenge to FUND more women in our industry. Thank you.