Tanya Tracey

Fortnightly financial #37 Tanya Tracey

Nigel Yeates, Communications and Stakeholder Business Partner, speaks to Tanya Tracey, CEO at GAIN (Girls are INvestors), about inspiring the next generation of investment professionals.

Please can you tell us about GAIN and your role there?

Our mission at GAIN is to empower and educate the next generation of investment professionals by providing a platform for learning, development, and networking. We champion gender equality and strive to equip young women and non-binary students with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to succeed in the world of investment management.

As CEO, I am responsible for steering our initiatives that aim to equip these students with the necessary skills, mentorship, and experiences to begin their career in investment management.

Through our events, programmes, and community, we aim to foster a culture of continuous learning, growth, and innovation in the investment industry. Our goal is to create a diverse and inclusive community of investment professionals who are equipped to shape the future of finance.

We are aiming to reach 25,000+ women and non-binary students each year by 2030 and aspire to increase their rate of application to investment firms to 30%+ in the longer term.

You focus on non-male students aged 15-21, why is this group so important?

The finance industry has long been male-dominated, and by introducing more young women and non-binary individuals to investment management whilst they are still in education, we can begin to correct the gender imbalance in the industry. Research has shown that ‘diverse teams make better decisions’, and we believe that to be true – we need more diversity in the industry so that it can thrive.

There is still much to do to achieve gender parity in the industry – for example, The 2023 Citywire Alpha Female report found that female fund managers make up just 12% of those managing funds in the UK. At mid-level it’s not much better, a 2023 industry report by Level 20 found that 22% of mid-level roles are held by women, dropping to 10% in senior roles.

We want to fix the lack of gender diversity in the investment industry and believe the way to do so is to improve the entry-level pipeline of candidates applying for roles, hence our focus on female & non-binary students.

What are the most interesting learnings or case studies that have come out of your work?

We launched in 2019 and it’s amazing to see both the growth in students utilising our content and offerings and also what they are going on to do. For example, seeing students who haven’t studied STEM subjects secure coveted positions in the industry thanks to the skills and knowledge gained through our programmes is fantastic, as it’s a myth you necessarily need to have a STEM degree to succeed in in the investment industry.

We’ve also seen previous students and GAIN interns enter the industry in their first roles and become volunteers with us, helping to ‘pay it forward’ which is lovely to see and fantastic to offer students a role model who is relatable and not much older than them.

Last year’s winning team of the GAIN Investment Challenge recently got in touch with us to say 3 out of 4 members of the team have decided to pursue a career in investment management due to their experience taking part in the competition, which has influenced their university degree choices.

These stories highlight the real-world impact of our work and the doors that can be opened through our initiative – it's brilliant to see.

You are once again running the GAIN Investment Challenge this year, can you share more on this initiative?

The annual GAIN Investment Challenge aims to provide young women and non-binary students in years 10 to 13 with a unique insight into the world of investment management and the skills needed to analyse a company.

Each participating team is assigned a company (the stock) to research. They’re guided by industry experts and supported by an investment mentor during the school spring term (six online sessions), after which students then advise on whether to buy, hold, or sell the stock as a potential investment opportunity.

They learn to collaborate, analyse, and make sound financial decisions – as well as having the opportunity to win a cash prize for their school. This challenge is vital to our efforts to demystify the financial sector and empower young women & non-binary students with the confidence to explore and pursue a career in investment management.

And finally, on a more personal note, a question we ask most of our guests: if £10,000 landed in your lap tomorrow, what would you do with it?

If I were fortunate enough to receive an unexpected £10,000 tomorrow for GAIN, I would reinvest it in the GAIN Bursary Fund. All GAIN programmes and events are free to participate in however there are other costs which can prohibit students and pupils taking advantage of them, so we have recently launched a bursary pot to support students whose finances are a barrier to accessing the opportunities we provide. From travel costs to clothes for interviews –  £10,000 would really make a difference to students who need financial support to access opportunities.

Thanks very much Tanya, some really thought-provoking ideas there.

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