Ivey recently welcomed 42 women from a wide range of undergraduate programs at Western and McGill University to the Women in Asset Management program (WAM), an initiative aiming to increase the number of women entering Canada’s asset management industry.
For the next four weeks, the women will sharpen their technical skills in portfolio theory, behavioural finance, stock valuation, and ethics and hear from inspiring industry leaders during the in-class portion of the program. Then they’ll begin a 10-week internship at an asset management firm to gain hands-on experience and mentorship. Thanks to corporate sponsors, the program is offered to the participants at no cost.
Expanding the program
This is the second cohort of the program, which launched in March 2022 to address the underrepresentation of individuals who self-identify as women in asset management. After a successful first year, Ivey was able to grow the program from 33 to 42 participants and expand it beyond Western to include three McGill students – a first step in eventually offering it to students across Canada.
“We’re delighted to welcome the second cohort of Ivey’s Women in Asset Management program,” said Steve Foerster, HBA ’81, an Ivey finance professor who co-directs the program along with his colleague, Saurin Patel. “Thanks to an increase in sponsorships, we were able to grow from 33 participants last year to 42 and expand beyond Western to include McGill students. We’re having a real impact by encouraging more women to participate in Canada’s asset management industry.”
Foerster said he’s also excited that two of this year’s WAM participants will be interning at BCI in Victoria, B.C., which adds to Ivey’s existing Toronto and Montreal internships.
Making asset management careers more attainable
At the program welcome event, Lyn Purdy, Ivey’s Associate Dean of Programs, said such internships provide women with exposure, training, and mentorship in hope of piquing their interest in the industry. She cited sobering statistics on gender diversity in the industry, including that asset management is currently only about 14 per cent women and a mere one per cent of assets are managed by women-led fund firms. Purdy told the participants not many women choose to enter or stay in the industry because there is a lack of role models, the work can be demanding, and the culture has not been conducive to women. But by making careers in the industry more attainable through the program, Purdy said she sees potential for change.
“When we partner with businesses that want to make meaningful change in the culture, representation, and desirability of these roles for women, we can start a movement,” she said. “Twenty years from now, our hope is that we will have changed that 14 per cent to 40 per cent or higher. You are the future leaders and together we can help make this happen!”
This past week, the new WAM students participated in introductory classes and social events where they had a chance to get to learn more about the program and each other. Here’s a look at the class by the numbers.
Introducing the WAM Class of 2023
Altogether the participants come from two schools, Western University (39 students) and McGill University (three students), and six undergraduate programs*:
- Arts – 10 students (includes psychology, economics, philosophy, and international relations);
- Media, Information, and Technoculture (MIT) – two students;
- Science – three students (includes biology, computer science, and psychology);
- Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies (BMOS) – 19 students (includes accounting, finance, consumer behaviour, management, and legal);
- Engineering – two students (chemical); and,
- Health Sciences – three students.
*Remaining three students from McGill
Thank you to the corporate sponsors
Ivey is proud to partner with 13 financial industry leaders to launch the WAM program. Sponsors include RBC Global Asset Management, Scotiabank Global Asset Management, CIBC Asset Management, Mackenzie Investments, PSP, BCI, BMO Global Asset Management, Brookfield, CPP Investment Board, OMERS, Polar Asset Management Partners, Sun Life Global Investments, and University Pension Plan Ontario.