An Australian investing group has said it is “abnormal” for conversations in the finance and investment industry to address systemic racism, pledging to use its relationships in the sector to take action.
Ethical funds manager Impact Investing Group (IIG) gave an update on Friday responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it feels a “deep sense of responsibility” to run its business in a way that acknowledges and addresses the existence and long-term effects of racism and bias.
“It is abnormal for investing and finance conversations to specifically address this issue of systemic racism; investment communities tend to be privileged, and able to ignore its effects,” the company said.
“As one of our team said this week, ‘Privilege is the choice not to engage, the absence of anger, sadness and frustration that the experience of racism brings.’ So we want to be explicit about why we collectively, should not be silent.”
The group has said it is working to better understand how to integrate different experiences and voices across its business, to support and promote more equitable outcomes in various sectors and markets.
“… We want to use our relationships in powerful industries, like finance, to widen the space for dialogue, understanding and most importantly action against racism, its effects and its dismantling,” IIG stated.
“Whilst it may be challenging, and at times scary, we are also resolved to make our contribution to the effort beyond our organisation,” it also said.
It added that it is looking to educate itself on Indigenous and other peoples’ experiences and to use its platforms to show its support and amplify people of colour’s voices.
Investor Daily contacted the firm for further clarity on its actions, but was unable to reach it.
A recent report from UniSuper and BankWest Curtin Economics Centre stated that both the government and the superannuation sector need to take action to address the retirement gap for Indigenous people.
The average Indigenous man was found to accumulate a superannuation balance of $308,000 by the age of 65, 37 per cent less compared to $483,000 for non-Indigenous men.
The gap between Indigenous women and their non-Indigenous counterparts was 35 per cent, with Indigenous women being likely to have accumulated $205,000 by 65.
On a policy level, it called for earlier access to super for Indigenous people alongside slashed tax penalties.
Further recommendations included requiring funds to report on outcomes for Indigenous members through ASFA and the formation of an independent cross-industry support unit, staffed by Indigenous people.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].