Mentors needed to boost number of women in investment management 

Mentors from the investment world are being given the opportunity to help Scottish schoolgirls become the next generation of expert investors.

Financial educator Future Asset is running an initiative to introduce senior girls to careers in investment management, show them how the sector operates, the impact it makes and range of opportunities available.

It takes the form of a Growing Future Assets Competition during which teenagers from all over country will vie to spot the next big investment opportunity – with the help of experts in the field.

Teams of 14-18-year-olds will be challenged to research, analyse and pitch a company they think will be a great long-term investment. They will be paired with a mentor from an investment company to provide advice, inspiration and career insights and have the chance to attend online masterclasses as they develop an understanding that good investing focuses on a company’s long-term prospects, profits and sustainability.

Potential mentors are being invited to step forward to take the youngsters from classroom theory into the real world of high finance.

Now in its second year, the competition begins on 6 September and is divided into a senior contest for years S5 and S6 and a junior challenge for S3 and S4. Teams of three to six girls will present their case in a research report and three-minute elevator pitch by 30 November. The top teams will then deliver an extended pitch to judges at the final in March next year.

At stake is: £1,000 for the winning senior team and £200-worth of vouchers of the students’ choice for each team member, and £800 for the best junior team and £150-worth of vouchers each.  Senior and junior runners-up will also receive prizes for the school and team members.

In addition to the financial incentive, the competition develops the youngsters’ transferable skills including research, analysis, communication, numeracy, working with others and presentation skills.

They will also get advice from Executive and Voice Coach Susan Room (correct) to help them feel, look and sound more confident and hear from author, broadcaster and financial journalist Iona Bain on how the younger generation can invest their way to a better future.

Helen Bradley, Future Asset Programme Manager, says: “Many young women would never consider a career in investment management but this sort of initiative gives them access to people at the heart of the sector who can give real-life insights into the industry and how it works.

“Earlier this year an investment research firm reported that more UK investment funds were run by men called Dave or David than by female managers! Future Asset is aiming to change that and this competition is a tremendous opportunity to open up a new era in female-led investment.

“We’re also very much aware that face-to-face work experience has been off the agenda for the last 18 months so we see this as a valuable chance to bring the world of work into school in a novel way.”

Firms interested in providing mentors or supporting Future Asset should contact  Helen Bradley through their official website.

Future Asset believes that being female should never be seen as a barrier to progressing in a chosen career.  Their goal is to enable girls in the senior phase of high school to learn how investment can change the world for the better, gain valuable, transferable skills and consider the benefits of possible future careers. They organise conferences and workshops for girls across Scotland. For more information visit Future Asset’s official website.

Future Asset is sponsored by Baillie Gifford, Stewart Investors and Walter Scott and Partners. They are also backed by Member firms who provide volunteers and mentors, supporting the programme to engage and enthuse girls and increase gender diversity in investment management.