Bloomberg expands support for woman in buy-side March 2021


Bloomberg has expanded its Women's Buy-Side Network operation to Australia and New Zealand. The organisation, which has chapters in Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and Japan, aims to inspire next-generation investors, elevate female role-models, and grow the pipeline of female leaders in asset management.

Bloomberg's James Bell, who became managing director for the organisation's Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands operations last November, is spearheading the operation, which also includes Susan Buckley, Managing Director, Liquid Markets Group at QIC; Cassandra Crowe, Vice President at T. Rowe Price; Matt Whineray, Chief Executive Officer at New Zealand Superannuation; Sue Brake, Chief Investment Officer at the Future Fund; and Sonya Sawtell-Rickson, Chief Investment Officer at HESTA.

Bell shared his insights into the importance of supporting diversity and how the program has grown over the years.

How does this program help address the systemic gender imbalance in investing?

We hope to move the diversity needle in Australia and New Zealand's asset management industry by inspiring next generation investors, elevating female role-models, and growing the pipeline of female leaders. Our Executive Members will bring together their collective experience to educate, encourage and empower more women to become investment leaders.

Now in its third year in Asia, the network’s role modelling, mentoring and engagement activities have served to promote meritocracy and inclusion in the industry and educate on the diversity of buy-side career paths, opportunities and impact.

Addressing systemic issues in any industry requires a multi-faceted, long-term approach as they are often complex and run deep or over generations. There is no single solution - we have got to work together as an industry, collaboratively. We are delighted to build our community in Australia and New Zealand where there is already an active debate to promote meritocracy and diversity in finance.

The program has experienced great success globally, in India, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. What are some of the lessons that have been learned that we can apply here?

We learned, very early on, that each market has its own unique set of gaps for advancing women. The success of the network is its bespoke approach to bridging those gaps based on insights from each chapter's executive members.

You also cannot underestimate the incredible power of role-modelling. To build the next generation of female buy-side leaders, we need to repeatedly showcase the women in the industry who are already there, who are making the decisions, debating and participating in the conversation of global investment trends and sharing their insights to make real impact. And when we directly connect these role models with emerging talent and students - there is real impact and change happening on an individual level.

What are some things you wish you’d known about the investing industry when you were starting your career?

Since I began my career in the industry, the narrative around investing, and how gender diversity can enhance investment decisions through unique perspectives and balance, has come so far.

At Bloomberg, we’ve been fortunate to be inspired by great leaders and change champions, including our Chairman, Peter Grauer, who reinforces to us the potential that can be realised by ‘taking a chance’ and actively making the choice to make an impact. While these are simple principles, they take courage and patience to implement.

One benefit of the program comes from networking events. How will those work in the COVID era?

A 'silver lining' in the COVID era is that we can reach a more diverse and broader audience of students and industry participants from more corners of the world. For example. our recent global 'Next-Gen Connect' attracted more than 20 top investors and 1000 university students from Asia, Europe and the Middle-East.

Who do you want to join the BWBN? What kind of people, what kind of experience.

We see senior and middle-level managers in Asset Management making a great contribution to our Australia & New Zealand chapter. Also, people who want to be a part of a community with like-minded professionals and contribute to our vision of building the next generation of women buy-side leaders in this region.

We want them to be inspired by global investment trends and inspire others to grow a pipeline of young, diverse, talented women.

View James Bell's profile