Thank you to everyone who attended the Women in Investment Festival in partnership with HSBC Global Asset Management

Tuesday 3 March | The Brewery, London

The successful investment firm of the future will be differentiated by its culture and its ability to attract the best talent. Women of all races, ages and backgrounds bring a variety of input, opinion and challenge that brings huge value to every part of an organisation and drives innovation.

However, how many times have you been into the boardroom, a conference, or a meeting room and been one of the few women in the room. With many companies still struggling to promote women into senior roles, we need to have candid, open, and courageous discussions about diversity and inclusion.

This festival will seek to serve as a beacon for the benefits of a truly diverse industry for all, whatever gender, colour or creed. Although it will naturally talk to and celebrate the achievements of women, we also believe we should showcase the role men play in the equation, and highlight examples of best practice where their support is helping to drive change for true gender equality.

Investment Week, Professional Adviser, Professional Pensions, Retirement Planner and Investment Europe have collaborated to launch the Women in Investment Festival. We’ll be celebrating successful women in the investment industry, sharing personal experiences of their journeys and the challenges along the way.

This one-day, three streamed festival, taking place just ahead of International Women's Day 2020, will ask the hard questions: What is working and what isn’t when it comes to recruiting, promoting, and retaining top talent? What does an “inclusive” work culture look like? How do we move from D&I as not just a business case but a strategic imperative.

Photos from the day:

Women in Investment Festival 2020

Watch the video below to find out what our editorial teams are looking forward to most about the Festival, what themes they're seeing when judging our Women in awards and  whether or not the discussions around diversity & inclusion are making a difference:

The Women in Investment Festival has been accredited with 3.5 hours' worth of endorsed CPD:

Our Mission Statement

Investment Week, Professional Adviser, Professional Pensions, Retirement Planner and Investment Europe are looking beyond the male dominated workforces, managerial boards, and industry events to find the women that are driving change.

Our mission is to celebrate women who are already at the top of their game within the investment industry, retain women in the profession, influence the culture from within and create demand for diversity as an industry imperative. We’re creating a network to enable women to share their experiences, advice, and raise awareness of challenges we are yet to overcome. To enable investment firms who are already challenging the status quo to share their successes and help forge real change in the industry and ensure lasting longevity.

Whether you’ve just left university, a manager, a director, a woman, or a man – you have a part to play in helping us tackle the gender diversity deficit. Our goal is that one day soon, this campaign will no longer be necessary.

Time until the event


The festival is open to all those working in the investment, adviser and pension industry.

  • Accountants
  • Actuaries
  • Asset Managers
  • CEOs
  • CFOs
  • Chair of Trustees
  • Chairs of Investment Sub-Committees
  • Chief Investment Officers
  • Compliance Financial Directors
  • Fund Managers
  • Human Resources
  • Independent Financial Advisers
  • Independent Trustees
  • Investment Analysts
  • Investment Consultants
  • Investment Managers
  • Marketing
  • Pension Consultants
  • Pension Scheme Managers
  • Sales Solicitors / Legal advisers
  • Treasurers Trustees
  • Wealth Managers


Registration and breakfast

Delegates register, network and breakfast in exhibition area


Welcome from your host for the festival Julia Streets

Opening keynote: How to have a voice

Ayesha Hazarika, comedian, broadcaster journalist and political commentator

Breaking the glass ceiling: an economic case for gender diversity

Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, but nowhere is that more stark than at board level, where figures show that women account for less than 2 percent of financial institutions’ chief executive officers and less than 20 percent of executive board members. The predominance of men in senior positions in financial services companies is a symptom of broader problems. Overly narrow criteria for advancement, outdated leadership models, inflexible working practices and bias in talent management all contribute to a lack of diversity, highlighting a recognised need for improved values and behaviors. Tackling these issues is not just “the right thing to do”; it also benefits the organisation, its employees, its customers and investors.

Megan Butler, Executive Director of Supervision, FCA

Plenary Panel: Ethnic Women in Investment

Women are still a significant minority in the UK’s financial sector. But if you’re from an ethnic minority AND female, you’re probably among only a handful in your organisation. What is the impact of this on the human being, the person and the woman? How do you deal with the potential isolation and cultural gap in your daily work life? And what is changing in the workplace – among both employers and workers – to bring about change for a more inclusive workforce.

Bev Shah, Founder & CEO, City Hive – Women in Asset and Investment Management

Marisa Hall, Director, Thinking Ahead Institute

Geraldine Napier-Payne, Portfolio Manager, LGT Vestra 

Refreshments and Networking Break in Exhibition Hub

Next Generation

Lifting the Lid on Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome has been the subject of research for over 40 years, but the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved can be debilitating, causing stress, anxiety, low self-confidence, even shame and depression. This session will lift the lid on imposter syndrome, give tips on how to combat it, and consider if it has underpinned failure in some diversity inclusion projects.

Tamara Gillan, Co-Founder, Wealthiher Network

Let’s get real about equality

Today’s leaders are clear on how they are focussed on supporting a diverse team and inclusive culture, but it’s time to get real about it. For the first time since Mercer conducted its ground-breaking When Women Thrive study five years ago, we’re seeing significant progress in female representation, however, we’re still a long way from parity. We need to also focus on inclusion as a whole. Our research shows that three key components, when put together, will drive real change, and this session will go through this in detail.

Michelle Sequeira, UK D&I Analytics Lead, Mercer

Are men doing enough to drive change?

This event is called Women in Investment, so why you may ask are we running a session looking at what men can do? In reality men are still pulling most of the strings in the investment industry and therefore their buy-in is extremely important. This session will address what male managers could be doing to further their female colleagues careers, how men can support D&I initiatives and how they can champion inclusivity in their industry.

Michael Kinney, Principal, Mercer

Justin Onuekwusi, Head of Retail Multi-Asset Funds Legal & General Investment Management

Andy Clark, CEO, HSBC Global Asset Management

Inspirational Leaders

Panel: Tales from the top

Warts and all stories from women at the top of their industries, including highlights – and lowlights, lessons learned and advice they wish they’d had.

Emma Douglas, Head of DC, Legal and General Investment Management

Gretchen Betts, Managing Director, Magenta Financial Planning

Ruth Handcock, CEO, Octopus Investments

Chair: Kat Lloyd, Editor-in-Chief, Investment Week

The sticky middle

Over the years we have seen many women initiatives ranging from women only networks, mentoring/sponsorships, board readiness programmes to help women break through the glass ceiling. However, no one talks about the “sticky middle” and the difficulties, not to mention the sacrifices that have to be made if women are to successfully navigate the graveyard of middle management. Anna will talk about this “sticky middle” and how often the business DNA resides in middle management and without recognising and understanding this DNA, businesses will continue to introduce women focused initiatives that work in silos. Anna believes that real change will need to come with commitment from the top but also bottom up and it starts with everyday behaviours and actions!

Anna Sofat, Founder, Addidi Wealth

Presentation skills

This session will give practical advice and tips on becoming a more confident speaker, including: 

·Controlling nerves

· Getting rid of hindering habits

· Sharpening your message

· Achieving results

· Developing your own voice and style

Lea Sellers and Rosalind Adler, The Confidence People

Organisational development

Entering the industry

This session will showcase the Investment20/20 Traineeship programme; sharing how the industry can better promote the variety of roles available in investment management and look to hire for potential rather than polish. We will also hear from some school leavers and graduates who have had the opportunity to benefit from the programme, sharing their stories and experiences.

Karis Stander, Managing Director, Investment20/20

Manuela Gutierrrez Lizarazo, Compliance Trainee Assistant, Barings

Daniel Oduleye, Operations Apprentice, Jupiter

Pippa O'Riley, Corporate Governance Analyst, Schroders

Barriers to diversity in portfolio management
  • The lack of diversity (across all dimensions) in the investment industry and why the Diversity Project was needed
  • Barriers to diversity in portfolio management and how they are not being addressed by current diversity initiatives
  • Addressing specific barriers including gaps in track records and the lack of portfolio manager turnover
  • What has been achieved so far and what next

Jane Welsh, Project Manager, Diversity Project

Yasmine Chinwala, Partner, New Financial

Luba Nikulina, Managing Director, Global Head of Research, Willis Towers Watson

Now that I have your attention
  • 1982. My father left my mother, my sister and me. I was four years old.
  • 1985. Tottenham riots.

Now that I have your attention… Gavin Lewis is a Managing Director at BlackRock and will talk about his experience living on a council estate in a single parent family in Tottenham. He will describe his journey from dealing knife crime and racism to a career in the corporate world. He will ask how far we have progressed when tackling the issues facing minorities and will also discuss the influence his mother had and still has on him today.

Gavin Lewis, Managing Director, BlackRock

Extended lunch with ‘building your network’ session

During this lunch session delegates will be invited to join a speed-networking session, consisting of 5 minute networking intervals – we recommend talking to a variety of industries and seniority levels. The session is designed to address some of the following areas:

  • How to navigate the challenges of traditional networking.
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with supportive connections.
  • Building a network inside and outside your organisation.

Is the financial services industry to blame for the gender investing gap?

Research shows that the investment gap in the UK is estimated at around £15bn, an issue compounded by data which reveals that despite living longer than men, women are still saving up to five times less for later life. In this session, we’ll explore some of the factors contributing to the gender investing gap, including whether the industry is inherently male biased, and examine what can be done about it.

Davinia Tomlinson, Founder, Rainchq

6 Moments that Matter to secure women’s and everyone’s financial future

Changes in our financial lives means that in future many of us will work into our 70s, live to 100, and face the prospect of old age care. And yet the average pension for a 65 year old woman is 1/5th of a 65 year old man, and women’s care costs are over 1.5x greater. With the gender pay gap not expected to close until 2050, a 25 year old woman today can expect to have 20% lower pension than a 25 year old man in 40 years time; and it will be 2100 at least before we achieve pension parity. In contrast by 2025, a minority of women and 53% of millionaires will be female. Women’s financial life journeys are different to men’s, women also engage differently, trust differently, protect and invest differently. This session will highlight the 12 financial Perils and Pitfalls facing women in today’s society and 6 Moments that Matter where women and everyone can make interventions to improve financial life. It will consider what we can do, at home and at work, as well as how financial services firms can support their employees' financial wellbeing and customers' financial outcomes.

Jane Portas, Partner, Assurance, PwC United Kingdom

Refreshments and networking break
Mentoring academy

This session will address what people should look for in a mentor, how to become a mentor and how to become a mentee. Hosted by CityHive, Mandy Kirby will kick off this interactive session by explaining the mind set and preparation needed to become a successful mentee and how many people might already be doing light mentoring without realising it. This session will then break out into roundtable discussions hosted by our guest mentors covering:

  • Career specific – big picture
  • How to deal with a bad manager
  • Feeling undervalued in the workplace • Not being listened to in meetings
  • I need feedback – but how do I get objective feedback
  • I don’t know how to progress

Hosted by: Mandy Kirby, Chief Strategist, CityHive


Alex Noble, Director, Noble & Associates Ltd

Liz Field, Chief Executive, PIMFA

Lee Georgs, COO, Redington

Jon Terry, Partner, PwC

Bilquis Ahmed, Executive Director, J.P. Morgan

Amanda Cassidy, Commercial Director, Quilter Financial Planner

Jenny Condron, Chair, Association of Consulting Actuaries

Beth Brown, Counsel, Mayer Brown

Hema Shah, Client Account Manager, BlackRock

Alex Leay, Head of Client Propositions for Client Segments, HSBC Global Asset Management 

Closing Keynote: The dual role of financial institutions
  • Business case for diversity and inclusion and how that impacts the profits, productivity, innovation of a company
  • Where do we stand now?
  • Financial sector getting their house in order: gender pay gap, ethnicity pay gap, sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Taking collective responsibility on what a good company looks like

Henrietta Jowitt, Deputy Director-General, Commercial - Executive Committee, CBI

Closing remarks

Festival host

Festival host

Headline Acts

Executive Director of Supervision
Comedian, broadcaster
journalist and political commentator
Deputy Director-General

Introducing our Fringe Events

Venue - The Brewery, London

This event is working towards the International Standard ISO 20121 and follows guidance set out by the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA)


Booking queries:
Orhan Toprakci
Head of Delegate Sales:
0207 484 9973
Sponsor queries:
Hannah Heath
Major Client Manager
0207 484 9865
Sponsor queries:
Naomi Howell
Account Manager
0207 484 9959
Speaker queries:
Paige Reeves
Conference Manager
+44 (0)20 7484 9810
Marketing queries:
Rebecca Hancock
Head of Marketing
+44 (0)20 3727 9924
Logistics queries:
Victoria Newell
Senior Event Manager
+44 (0)20 7484 9981