ABSIP’S INITIATIVES TO TACKLE THE CHALLENGES
THE ASSOCIATION of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (Absip) recently held the South Africa Financial Service Conference, under the theme “Towards a transformed, inclusive and thriving financial sector by 2022”. The conference aimed to tackle challenges such as inequality, accessibility and the political climate.
The conference reached the following resolutions, among others:
• Through its student chapters and young professional members, to put programmes in place to build a new generation of responsible leaders who understand that transformation needs to happen at all levels and to improve the quality of life for South Africans at the lowest income levels;
• To create and lead programmes to widen the pool of entrants into the financial services sector;
• To encourage all participants in the value-chain to foster transformation through increased allocation to black businesses for the provision of goods and services, and to increase the participation of black financial services firms therein;
• To institute a programme of engagements with financial institutions and policymakers in order to, among other things, unlock access to capital for black-owned businesses, ensure that transformation and inclusivity is brought into all policymaking, identify positions and roles that control true power in the value chain, and seek to ensure that those positions are transformed;
• To assist black firms and professionals to expand and differentiate their value propositions by, among other things, training them in international best practice through Absip’s partnership with international organisations; and
• To achieve the following targets by 2022: between 20% and 50% of investment assets under management being managed by black asset managers, and between 20% and 30% of trade commissions being directed to black stockbrokers.
At the end of the conference, Absip hosted its annual awards ceremony recognising individuals and companies – including asset managers, stockbrokers, retirement funds, investment banks and corporations in or associated with the financial services industry – that best represented transformation in the industry.
Among other Absip initiatives that are bearing fruit on the road to transformation are:
• Bursary programme: launched in 2013, the Absip Bursary aims to help disadvantaged black students pursue careers in the financial services industry;
• Women in Focus programme: to develop and nurture black women to assume senior positions in financial services companies;
• Graduate programme: in association with Fordham University in the United States, to provide graduate and postgraduate courses for its members; and
• Undergraduate programme: to promote career awareness and professional development initiatives among students studying towards careers in the financial services sector, to better prepare them to work in the sector. The Absip student chapter has a presence at 12 universities.