First sponsors of HerCapital announced

by Tracey Abayeta
03 Aug 2017

Helios Investment Partners and Aberdeen Asset Management announced as first Sponsors of SEO London's Flagship Female Leadership programme – HerCapital.


SEO London is pleased to announce the launch of our year-long leadership development programme for female undergraduate students, aimed at transforming gender diversity in the financial services. Helios Investment Partners and Aberdeen Asset Management will be funding the programme as “HerCapital Providers”. The programme has also attracted in-kind support from a number of partner firms and individuals passionate about gender parity in the workplace.

HerCapital is a holistic and practical programme designed with the millennial female in mind. The objective of the programme is to close the confidence gap that exists between men and women while cultivating Associates’ core leadership potential.

The programme seeks to broaden the pool of female talent “considering the financial services industry as a career option”. It follows the launch of the Women in Finance Charter, an initiative by HM Treasury that seeks to increase the representation of women in the financial services sector, particularly at senior levels. The initiative has been inspired by a weak pipeline of female talent at entry level, making initiatives such as HerCapital critically important.

The HerCapital programme will work with 50 female students from universities across the UK who are in their 1st year of a 4 year course (or due to graduate in 2021). At present, such students would not be eligible for mainstream spring programmes that require students to be in their 1st year of a 3-year course or 2nd year of a 4-year course. Therefore, the HerCapital initiative provides a rare opportunity for STEM, language or placement year students who are starting their university career this September/October and brings increased degree diversity to the financial services industry.

HerCapital offers participants the opportunity to build strong foundations that will prepare them for a successful career in the world of work. Research(1) shows that while women want to lead, they are often constrained from doing so. 67% of women in the workplace state that they need support to build their confidence in order to feel that they can be leaders. This lack of confidence has had an affect on women’s ability to ask for: promotions, pay rises, mentors, sponsors, access to senior leadership and career development plans.

HerCapital will help the participant’s use their university environment as a platform to develop key employability and leadership skills in a very practical and holistic manner. It will consist of activities such as: in-person soft skills training workshops; on-campus fundraising challenge for charity; an interactive health and fitness course; networking; a buddy system; technology training in the summer holidays; exposure to industry professionals; and exclusive summer internship opportunities.

Helios Investment Partners is a leading private investment firm focussed on Africa. “SEO is a terrific organisation whose impact can be felt throughout the industry,” said Henry Obi, the Chief Operating Officer at Helios. “We’re truly excited to partner with SEO on this innovative project to encourage more young women to consider careers in finance and business, which we believe will grow the pipeline of talented future women business leaders. We think that the finance industry, and the business world in general, has much to gain from more gender diversity at all levels of organisations.”

Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, comments:

“We are delighted to be supporting the HerCapital programme. This flagship Female Leadership programme will help promote the asset management industry and the career opportunities it offers to undergraduates. The industry in general has lagged behind other professional services sectors in marketing itself to female undergraduates. I am a firm believer in the benefits diverse teams can make to a business and this programme is a significant step in transforming the gender balance and encouraging more women to consider asset management as a career option.”

Students are encouraged to apply as soon as they receive their A-Level results and have university and degree courses confirmed. Female students currently on a gap year who will be starting a 4 year course in September are also encouraged to apply.

For more information, please visit SEO London website: http://www.seo-london.org/careers/her-capital/

If you are a corporate organisation that would like to get involved in supporting the programme, please do get in touch (Tracey.Abayeta@seo-london.org) as there are many ways to get involved!

(1) KPMG Women’s Leadership Study

If you are a candidate, sponsor firm employee, alumni or supporter and you would like to blog for us, please contact us at info@seo-london.org expressing your interest.