Research shows a gap in the world of financial institutions and enterprises. At Good Finance we are asking … where is the diversity of people, experience and thought on investment committees in the social investment sector? And what can we do to change this?
Investment committees (IC) are central to all decisions on whether deals go ahead or not, so who is in the room matters. Due to the commercial sensitivity of information being discussed, most often investment committees happen behind closed doors. It’s difficult for those on the outside to understand and influence what is happening on the inside. If IC members are appointed through existing networks, it means that the pool of people who hold the power is relatively small. This means we are missing out on a whole range of skills and experience who have value to add to the process.
Having diversity and lived experience of working with social enterprises and charities on the committee is essential for well balanced decision making, especially those within the social investment space.
Do ICs fully understand the types of businesses that they are looking to invest in? Social Enterprise UK’s Report ‘Reclaiming the Future’ suggests that this is not the case.
“If you were to do an analysis of who sits on the boards of social investment groups, companies, whatever - I’d say it’s pretty light on actual people who actually do the job [of running a social enterprise] and who have successfully done the job.”
- June O’Sullivan, the Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation
It’s time for change.
What we’re doing to bridge the gap
As part of Good Finance’s approach to addressing diversity, equality and inclusion in the sector we are working closely with organisations and their networks such as Women in Social Finance, the Diversity Forum and Big Society Capital, to challenge the status quo on investment committees.
- We want to start the conversation on why investment committees should be more transparent, as well as being more diverse.
- We want to better equip those who are interested in becoming a future member of an investment committee with understanding of what being a member entails and the tools to show them that they can do it.
- We want to work with investors who have already embraced this approach and those who recognise they need to do more.
Which is why Good Finance is extremely pleased to announce that we are developing a new programme, ‘Investment Committees of the Future’ that aims to nurture and equip the future generation of IC members. We’re championing a better future for ICs, where committees are more diverse and representative of the UK, and ultimately make more informed decisions, with people with lived experience at the helm, helping shape outcomes.
ICs of the future consists of two key elements, firstly an e-learning programme to develop your knowledge and secondly, a peer network of existing or future IC members. Our aim is that this exciting e-learning platform will lift the lid on all things to do with ICs. It’s for those who want to further understand what they are, for those interested in joining one in the future, and for those actively seeking an IC opportunity. This programme is for you.
The modules are under development and we are currently gathering a network of individuals who would be interested in testing the course, so that we can tailor it to better suit your needs. If you would like to join our first cohort of learners, or are willing to help us co-create the modules, please contact email@example.com.
Our network of current and future IC members will be a safe space for people to ask the ‘not-so-silly’ questions, to meet others and find out about upcoming IC opportunities.
Investment Committee Members - we need you…
To those who are reading this and are already a member of an Investment Committee, we need your help. We want to better understand what your experience of an Investment Committee has been, and how you were recruited. We’ve developed a short survey which we would be extremely grateful if you could fill in. We are eager to share your experiences and lessons learnt from ICs. Your inputs can help foster the next generation of IC members.
We hope that you are able to pass on your wisdom and knowledge, and importantly, think about whether your IC should look to diversify its members. We would love to hear from you, please get in touch.
Something to leave you with
So we’ve used this blog as a teaser… a teaser of what's to come. We hope you're as excited as us to help shift the dial on what is the ‘norm’ in ICs, in terms of who its members are and also, how people are appointed to Investment Committees.