Eilidh is an Investment Manager with experience investing in both direct equities and funds and is particularly interested in ESG and impact investing.
She has a Masters of Arts in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh and has completed the IMC and CFA Level 1 examinations.
Eilidh is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the financial services industry and has worked to increase representation over the past 4 years. She is a member of the WIBF Future Leaders Shadow Board, supporting the WIBF management committee and annual Awards for Achievement.
We caught up with Eilidh to find out more…
How did you get involved with WIBF?
In the autumn of 2019 I attended a Diversity & Inclusion conference where the President of Women in Banking and Finance, Vivienne Artz, spoke passionately about the challenges that women face in the finance industry, including the 31% gender pay gap that still exists - twice the national average.
It was the first time I had learned about WIBF and the benefits being a member can afford, such as, mentoring, events and workshops, networking, awards for achievement, and the jobs board. Inspired by what I had heard, I signed up to be a member that evening and created a quick profile for myself on the Jobs Board which connects applicants to organisations committed to supporting diversity, inclusion and equality. It provides access to a variety of roles, including flexible working and return to work programmes, and covers a wide spectrum of experience from entry level to leadership positions. A couple of weeks later I noticed an advertisement seeking volunteers for the Future Leaders Shadow Board at WIBF and the rest is history!
What is your role in the future leaders shadow board?
The Future Leaders Shadow Board (FLSB) is committee of volunteers who shadow the WIBF Board of Directors and support the Management Committees to deliver their strategic objectives by offering fresh perspectives and furthering new ideas. Volunteers are members of WIBF employed in the banking and finance community who are early on in their careers and have a passion for Diversity and Inclusion.
It’s a great opportunity to drive change in the industry whilst gaining vital board experience and developing an invaluable network of industry contacts. Part of my role involves supporting the Director of Awards, Sally McFall, and the wider Management Committee to deliver the annual Awards for Achievement. This year the luncheon will be held at the beautiful London Guildhall and it will be particularly special as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of WIBF!
There are still some positions on the FLSB to be filled and we would like to invite interested candidates to apply, further details can be found via this link to the Jobs Board.
How did you go from an MA in psychology to Financial Services?
It was actually a little by accident, if you believe there ever are such things. After an incredibly fun (but exhausting!) summer working with children I decided at the start of my final year of university that perhaps a career in Developmental Psychology was not the right fit for me. With an interest it modern studies and world events but no idea what other avenues would be open to me, I decided to take a temporary job in financial services to learn more about it (I didn’t even know what a fund was!). I found it intellectually simulating and was lucky enough to meet some good mentors along the way which lead me to relocate to London and qualify as an Investment Manager.
It might sound like a bit of a leap but psychology is important when making investment decisions, particularly in relation to behavioural finance and market sentiment. Investing is both an art and a science. The ability to use psychology and self analysis to address your biases, trading behaviour, mistakes and reaction to the language used in headlines can make you a more rational investor. It is important to have investment teams with a range of backgrounds and skillsets to increase performance through diversity of thought and intellectual curiosity about the world, in addition to technical analysis.
What are your long term career goals?
In the long term I hope to work up to a senior leadership position, to continue championing diversity and to be a part of the exciting growth in impact investing. The investment industry is changing. Globalisation and the advancement of technology have resulted in investors having greater access to information about the nature and sustainability of their investments which, in turn, has increased client demand for ethical portfolios and the consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance factors. However, ESG data (e.g. board structure, employee welfare, environmental footprint etc.) highlights the operations of a company and a strong score on these criteria does not necessarily mean the company, and hence the investment, will be making a positive impact.
In the next 30-40 years, there will be a global intergenerational wealth transfer of trillions of pounds from baby boomers to millennials and Gen Z whose investment preferences go beyond a financial return. Furthermore, an annual investment of $5-7 trillion will be required in order to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is a huge opportunity and need for private capital to complement efforts from philanthropy and government funding to help meet the needs of our ever growing population within the needs of our planet.
Can you tell us more about your involvement with diversity and inclusion?
Passion is rooted in our own personal experiences. Like many young girls I’ve always been a champion for equality insofar as challenging stereotypes, particularly when it came to sports participation and academic results, but I wouldn’t say I ever really experienced inequality in the present day until I fully entered the workforce. I began to notice the lack of diversity and female role models, particularly in investment related positions which were dominated by men of a certain age, ethnicity and background.
Often I was the only woman in meetings with renowned fund managers and so, a few years ago, when the firm I was working for at the time decided to set up a Diversity and Inclusion committee I jumped at the chance to be involved. It was rewarding to play a small part in signing the firm up to the Women in Finance charter and improving the parental leave policy but before long there was a natural progression to using my skills and experience externally too. I volunteer with CFA UK’s Diversity and Inclusion committee creating content and events on social inclusion in the finance industry.
You were at the WIBF Annual Awards launch in January, what did you take away from that?
The WIBF Annual Awards launch was a great morning of celebration, networking and sharing of good practice throughout the sector. I particularly enjoyed hearing past award winners speak about how they had used their experience of winning an award with WIBF to drive change in their work places. It’s no secret that characteristically women tend to be more modest than men, and therefore less likely to promote their achievements for an award. In an attempt to rectify this one winner, Tracy Watkinson (the 2018 winner of the Champion for Women award), went back to the her firm’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and helped set up a formal awards nomination process at Credit Suisse to ensure that diverse talent was being recognised both internally and externally. This is exactly the kind of work WIBF hopes to inspire and it is an example of how each of us can do our own small part to improve practices and extend a hand out to those following behind us.