#Talkaboutblack launches pilot after-school program targeting socio-economically disadvantaged areas supported by City of London Corporation, Diversity Project and CISI

By Lora Benson | Oct 23, 2020


  • Program aims to provide pupils attending schools from socio-economically disadvantaged areas with the aspiration, belief and tools to develop a career in asset management
  • Pilot launches in collaboration with Mulberry Academy Shoreditch, Mossbourne Community Academy, City of London Corporation, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and the Diversity Project

#Talkaboutblack has launched a pilot after-school program targeting pupils attending schools located in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, in collaboration with The City of London Corporation, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the Diversity Project.

The Catalyst After School Program (CASP) is an education and training program designed to equip pupils with hard skills and fusion skills, while also introducing them to asset management in order to build their aspiration to develop a career in the industry. A key outcome of the program is for students to earn a Level 2 CISI Fundamentals of Financial Services qualification. #Talkaboutblack hope that the scheme will help develop a pipeline of diverse talent in the asset management industry.

The pilot, which is free for participating state schools, starts on 12th November and will initially run for eight months. The programme will be taught by the not-for-profit professional body the CISI with members from the asset management industry performing the role of teaching assistants.

The first cohort of 24 pupils from Year 10 have been selected from two schools, Mulberry Academy Shoreditch in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Mossbourne Community Academy in the London Borough of Hackney.

Following the pilot, should the initiative be successful, #Talkaboutblack, intends to scale the program across the UK, with this year’s alumni becoming mentors to next year’s cohort. The program’s impact will be measured through increased engagement, students opting to stay in further education and entry into the asset management industry.

The program is one of a number of initiatives from #Talkaboutblack that aims to tackle the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in asset management.

To celebrate the launch, The City of London Corporation, #Talkaboutblack and Diversity Project will join London Stock Exchange Group in a ceremony to open London’s markets for trading. Taking part in the event will be the Rt Hon Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell; Gavin Lewis, Managing Director, BlackRock and Co-founder of #Talkaboutblack; Andrien Meyers, Honorary Diplomat and Common Councilman, The City of London Corporation; and Diane Côté, Chief Risk Officer, London Stock Exchange Group.

Gavin Lewis, Managing Director at BlackRock and Co-founder of #TAB commented:

“I grew up in inner City London and never knew the City existed, I certainly could not envisage myself working there. I was fortunate enough to find a way in but there is huge potential which remains untapped. It is imperative that we build of pipeline of talent to enter the asset management industry. If we can provide students with the aspiration and the belief that they can develop a career, then we have an opportunity to create lasting change.

I am incredibly excited to be working alongside Mulberry Academy Shoreditch, Mossbourne Community Academy, the City of London Corporation, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and the Asset Management industry in this important initiative.”

Andrien Meyers, Honorary Diplomat and Common Councilman added:

“As we look across society, we can see a great lack of ethnic diversity in the investment industry. This situation creates huge hurdles for people from BAME backgrounds. The City Corporation, through the Diversity Project, #TAB and the CISI want to champion more inclusivity within the investment and savings industry. There are many bright and talented young people from across society who are hungry for the opportunity to progress and do well.

I strongly believe that as a community we must do more to ensure they receive the guidance, support and – most importantly – the opportunity to find a career that they are passionate about. And the Catalyst After School Program is one way of helping young adults into the investment profession and we are proud to launch this during Black History Month.”

Kevin Moore Chartered FCSI, CISI Global Head of Business Development said:

“We are thrilled to be supporting this project. Widening participation in our financial services profession for socio-economically disadvantaged students across the UK must increase at pace. This initiative has the impetus and cross-sectoral commitment to make that happen.”

Sessions will take place virtually.  

Program costs will be borne by program sponsors.

Sponsors and supporters include: AMR, AQR Capital Management, Beach Point Capital Management, BlackRock, Bfinance, Fidelity International, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Guild of Investment Managers, Federated Hermes, Hire Right Investment Management, Invesco, Investment 20/20, Janus Henderson International, London Stock Exchange Group, Legal and General Investment Management, Mercer, Neuberger Berman, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, Standard Life Aberdeen, Willis Towers Watson.