In advance of the event, Delano spoke with Alexandra Haggard of Blackrock. She is a panellist on the “Minding the gap - Diversity in Asset Management” talk, 6 March at 2:30pm.
Aaron Grunwald: What do you want the audience to get most from the diversity panel?
Alexandra Haggard: The real aim is to inspire the audience to join forces with us to enhance diversity and inclusion in the industry. I hope the audience will get a sense of the progress already occurring, and our ability to make a difference collectively to bring the best talent into the industry to bring better solutions to our clients.
What is a good example of how diversity and inclusion have benefited your organisation?
Research shows that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams, and at BlackRock we strive to make our teams genuinely diverse--by gender, but also a number of other factors, including socio-economic background, educational focus, and many others. To help the diverse teams work, many of our managers have undertaken unconscious bias training, and we’ve certainly seen positive results.
What would you like to see more of in the fund sector this year: more peer pressure or more detailed regulations?
I would like two things: first, for more senior leaders of investment firms to embrace the importance of diversity publicly (because unless you talk about it, people don’t know); second, I would like them to make real changes in their businesses to become genuinely more diverse and inclusive.
Aside from your own talk at the ALFI event, which speech or panel are you most looking forward to hearing, and why?
I’m excited to hear from all the speakers--particularly the session on client experience [editor’s note: the second day of the conference at 4:10pm] and how rapidly the way people engage is changing, and what the industry needs to do to transform itself and remain relevant.