Closing the Gap: Future Asset Competition Champions Girls in Finance Amidst Alarming Gender Disparity Stats

Future Asset takes centre stage in the financial education arena with the resounding success of the inaugural live final of the Growing Future Assets Investment Competition. This unique contest not only showcases the investment acumen of Scotland’s high school girls but has also underscores the pressing need for diversity in the finance sector.

According to the 10th edition of the Women, Business, and the Law report by the World Bank, released on March 5, 2024, the global gender pay gap remains far wider than previously estimated. Furthermore, a recent UK Government Report indicates that women are not projected to achieve gender parity at senior levels in financial services until 2037 at the current pace. These statistics highlight the urgency of initiatives like Growing Future Assets in addressing gender disparity in finance.

The Growing Future Assets Investment Competition, organised by Future Asset, breaks new ground in highlighting the potential of Scotland’s high school girls in the finance sector. The contest challenges teams of girls in Scottish schools to research, analyse and pitch a company to a group of investment professionals. It aims to inspire young minds, proving that gender should never be a barrier to pursuing a career in finance and introduces them to potential careers in investment, demonstrating how working in the sector can change the world for the better and give young women valuable, transferable skills.

Since 2020, the Growing Future Assets competition has made significant strides, engaging 1800 students, 30 council areas, 300 volunteers, and 40 investment firms across Scotland. This impactful initiative not only provides individual prizes and rewards for competition winners but also equips all participants with essential skills such as presentation, teamwork, confidence, and project management, among others.

Over the past 10 weeks, S3-6 girls from various schools across the country immersed themselves in the intricacies of investment management. Guided by dedicated Competition Coaches drawn from leading firms like Baillie Gifford, Stewart Investors, and Martin Currie, these young talents honed their skills to pitch investment strategies with sophistication and flair. The competition witnessed a substantial 25% increase in participants and a 17% rise in the number of schools participating, emphasising its growing significance in cultivating financial literacy.

Now in its fourth year the spotlight fell on outstanding achievements during the competition’s first ever live final, where in the Senior category, Preston Lodge High School, in Edinburgh emerged triumphant with their innovative pitch on Veolia, an eco-friendly resource management company. This winning team was made up of three sisters, injecting a family element into the competition.

The closely contested runner-up positions were secured by both North Berwick High School, which presented on Hologic, the leading innovator in US women’s health, and Lossiemouth High School in Moray with a pitch on home builders Taylor Wimpey.

For the Junior category, Calderside Academy in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, claimed the top spot with their pitch on global animal health company Zoetis.

Broxburn Academy in West Lothian secured the runner-up position with their presentation on the UK’s best known sausage roll producers; Greggs.

Industry support for this year’s students was unparalleled, with numerous firms expressing their endorsement through congratulatory videos. The CEO of Hotel Chocolat even engaged directly with one of the teams via video call, underlining the industry’s commitment to fostering financial education.

Behind the success of this competition is a cohort of over 100 Competition Coaches from 33 firms, contributing their expertise and time to mentor the participants. Such overwhelming support has prompted the creation of the “Coach of the Year Award” to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of these professionals.

Helen Bradley, CEO of Future Asset, comments: “The Growing Future Assets Investment Competition is not just a showcase of financial talent; it’s a testament to the collaborative spirit of the business community. The support from Competition Coaches has been instrumental in shaping the future of these young minds.”

As the charity celebrates the success of this year’s contest, Future Asset extends an invitation to businesses to join this impactful initiative as sponsors and members for future competitions. By engaging with Future Asset, firms have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of female investment leaders, contributing to the development of an equitable and empowered society.

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