Morgan Stanley has enlisted 300 of its mid-ranking bankers for a new programme that aims to increase the number of ethnic minorities from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in the financial sector.
The US investment bank has rolled out a new scheme called Advancing Futures, where 300 of its vice presidents in London will mentor UK students from less well-off backgrounds on how to move their career ambitions forward.
“It is a critical priority for us as a firm to reduce barriers to entry and address inequitable career opportunities for young people from underserved communities,” Gabrielle Lyse Brown, Morgan Stanley’s head of diversity and inclusion for Europe, the Middle East and Africa said in a statement.
Investment banks face pressure to increase ethnic diversity within their UK operations, particularly in the wake of the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. The socioeconomic background of potential candidates has long been a sticking point in the sector in the UK, with those from working class backgrounds largely locked out of highly-competitive and lucrative banking roles.
In September, Morgan Stanley unveiled a new recruitment programme that will hire 10 Black or female candidates — who have had no prior experience of the industry — for its London trading floor. It has also launched a £1m+ a year programme to provide 25 UK students from ethnic minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds funds during university and an internship at the bank.
Standard Chartered, meanwhile, has launched an apprenticeship on its trading floor that does not require any academic qualifications in a bid to increase socioeconomic and ethnic diversity in its key roles. JPMorgan also offered a route into a high-paying investment banking job for a select group of school-leavers through a new apprenticeship in 2020.
A Financial News investigation found that working-class graduates from the UK were still largely locked out of investment banking jobs, despite many specific programmes in place to try and bolster the number of recruits from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Working class graduates were found to lack the ‘polish’ required for many front office roles.
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