Future female investors shine in new National Investment Competition


IM/Pact winners and judges.

Students from Australia’s leading universities have blown away industry veterans at the first national student investment competition run by Future IM/Pact – an industry initiative aimed at attracting more diverse talent into investment teams.

Held last night at Bloomberg’s Sydney headquarters, the final round of the 2019 National Investment Competition pitted teams of four students from Australia’s top universities who battled to solve investment problems across one of four topical themes: infrastructure investing, social impact investing, global equities and Australian equities.

Last night’s presentations saw teams from Monash University, Melbourne University, University of NSW and Macquarie University present their pitches to a judging panel comprising industry leaders from Cbus, QIC, Yarra Capital Management, Mercer, NAB Asset Management and Bloomberg.

Importantly, every team entering the competition needed to have at least two female members.

The winning team from Monash University presented a pitch on social impact investing, designed by industry super fund HESTA. Detailed modelling, a sound understanding of the investment risks and a clearly articulated impact on the fund were among the reasons the team took the top prize.

All four members won a paid summer internship with a Future IM/Pact industry partner based in their city (see partners p2). The four runner-up teams also won a private lunch with the investment teams from a Future IM/Pact partner.

Female students get on board

Future IM/Pact founder Yolanda Beattie congratulated all the participating teams and commended the University Network of Investment and Trading society (UNIT) for their outstanding support in building awareness of the competition. She said she was thrilled with the level of engagement from female students.

“Despite Australia’s large and thriving investment and superannuation sector, many of our most talented female university students do not consider professional investing as a career option,” Ms Beattie said. “Yet the quality of the thinking and presenting from these students was remarkable, even though many had not heard of investment management before Future IM/Pact introduced them to it,” she said.

The investment competition caps off a successful year for Future IM/Pact, which was launched in July 2018 with the aim of attracting more diverse talent into the heavily male-dominated investment teams of Australia’s super funds and fund managers. The project was launched following 2016 research that found women comprise just 24% of Australia’s investment professionals. It has since attracted support from some of Australia’s most high-profile super funds and asset managers.

Through concerted work with the university sector, Future IM/Pact’s subscription base has increased 200% to 350 highly engaged female students, in addition to over 100 women participating in thought-provoking and insightful industry roundtables and over 120 women registering their interest in the national competition.

“Our 2016 research found female finance students were almost 50% less likely than their male counterparts to consider a career in investments, mostly because they didn’t know enough about it or they felt they wouldn’t fit in.

“We are dissolving that barrier and I’m confident we will achieve our goal of 50/50 junior analyst applicants in the next five years,” Ms Beattie said.

Twenty-seven university teams across Australia made submissions to the national competition which held state heats earlier in October prior to the finals round last night. Seven of the teams were all female.

The program will expand its reach in 2020 with a virtual intern program in partnership with InsideSherpa, giving Future IM/Pact partners exposure to over 50,000 female students.

New partners are able to join the program at any point and contribute to the growth and expansion of the initiative.

Honner is a pro-bono media partner for Future IM/Pact.

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