Motswedi Listed Investments survey – June 2022
2 Aug, 2022

What is Authenticity in Transformation..?

Mark Davids, Investment Strategist – MOTSWEDI

When we talk about authenticity in transformation, we need to look deeper into the BEE certificate of the asset manager. We are looking at the organisation structure and culture of the asset manager – are Black people thriving in the environment or are we seeing a revolving door of Black professionals. When we talk about authenticity in transformation, we are talking about asset management businesses which take all their staff on a journey to fulfil their purpose and capitalise on the Diversity Dividend.

The question many observers are asking of asset managers today is, are the White male dominated senior management decision making heads, actually aware of the cultural blind spots that are in place which make it inherently difficult for Black professionals to thrive in their business. Working mothers in management know the struggle they face when working in male dominated environments, the accusation of being too emotional is often used to break down many assertive professional women. Black professionals, male and female are more prone to being treated like outsiders, where they are expected to assimilate into an organisation culture which has been built over generations in a certain way, and if they do not conform, they are treated as troublemakers.

Too often well-meaning mentors and leaders tend to direct Black males and females into less technical and less valued roles. So, the Black talent which do make it into the technical management roles at asset managers are generally sought after, mainly from an Employment Equity perspective, and are poached with big pay cheques from one organisation to the next; which tend to have the same organisational structure and culture – and the cycle repeats.

No doubt we need to increase the number of Black investment professionals in the industry, and yes the answer is to develop more impactful graduate recruitment programmes specifically targeted at developing a pipeline of Black talent to take up technical roles. But this does not necessarily attend to the inherent organisational structure problem which exists within many asset managers. The structural biases which make it difficult for Black professionals to feel as if they are valued members of staff and actually have a voice in the direction of their careers. A big pay cheque goes some way to placate your Black professional working in your organisation, but when there is no clear route to a lead portfolio management position or towards having a leadership role with a say in the destiny of the company; in many cases your big pay check loses its meaning and a lack of purpose takes hold.

When we talk about an authentically transformed asset management business, we talk about businesses which work towards finding solutions to cultural barriers and which aims to empower all staff to achieve their full potential, capitalising on the Diversity Dividend.

Download a copy of the survey, click below…

As usual we would love to hear from you.

Keep well.

Regards

Mark

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