City's Investment Managers Guild Puts The Call Out

Large 7770f00d 7636 4fdb 8b4f 8bdba378eef3

A guild dedicated to opening the investment management industry to a more diverse cohort, and improving financial literacy in wider society, has put out a call for new members.

The Guild of Investment Managers was set up in 2015 and has the ultimate aim of becoming the Worshipful Company of Investment Managers – joining the City of London’s 110 existing livery companies.

The group was granted “guild” status by the Court of Alderman (the City of London Corporation body that approves the formation of new companies) in March 2018, and is now looking to grow its 80-strong membership base and become more philanthropically active – having had its trust vehicle approved by the Charities Commission in September.

Robert Hughes-Penney, guild master and an investment director at Rathbones, said the guild would base its activities around the four pillars of the livery company movement – fellowship, charity, industry, and education – as it worked towards full livery company status, a multi-step process which involves growing the membership base and achieving charitable goals over a number of years.

“One of the things that we want to do is to better represent the investment management industry, making it better-known to, and better understood by, the public at large,” Mr Hughes-Penney said.

He said the important role the industry played as a conduit and steward for people’s savings was in general, poorly understood.

“We're providing a very real social utility… helping people to achieve their financial aims and aspirations. I’m not sure we [as an industry] are very good at articulating this, and people just see us as part of ‘The City’.”

The guild also wanted to promote financial literacy more generally and encourage diversity in the sector.

“That may involve speaking to young people, whether it's in schools or the early years of work, to improve financial awareness and education,” Mr Hughes-Penney said.

“Equally important is what the industry has to offer in terms of careers. We want the access point to the industry to be as wide-a door as possible, to a diverse group of people – for more people to realise that this is an industry that that welcomes everyone.”

The guild is actively looking for more people to become involved, offering a discounted membership fee for those aged under 35. Most of its 80 members joined via word of mouth.

“There are a couple of things that are really special about guild membership,” Mr Hughes-Penny said.

“One, is that when you're a part of a livery company or a guild, you are usually part of it for life. When you become a member, you are meeting with people you are likely to know for many, many years. When life is so transitory, having a place that is more consistent and permanent adds real value to relationships.

“Secondly, for a young person, you could come in as a 26 or 27-year-old and be at a function, presentation, or dinner sitting alongside a very senior fund manager, who you might otherwise only see in a formal setting. [You have the opportunity] to build a relationship, ask questions and learn from those that have got much more experience.”

The guild runs social events throughout the year as well as more industry-centric occasions: In November it held a seminar focused on ESG matters, and has another on diversity planned for May.

Membership involves participating in events, and as with all non-profit organisations, there are various other volunteer posts to be filled – “but, we realise people are busy, and it’s very flexible in terms of the commitment,” Mr Hughes-Penney said.

To find out more, and to become a member, visit the Guild of Investment Managers’ website.

This article was originally published on TheWealthNet under the authorship of Alexandra Newlove, 20/12/2019