Two Harvard sophomores are working hard to change how the hedge fund industry looks.
Angel Onuoha and Drew Tucker, two black men who want to eventually work in finance, started BLK Capital Management, a nonprofit that operates as a hedge fund, this year. The group allows black students across Ivy League schools in the United States to get experience investing before ever leaving school.
“BLK is about breaking down those institutional barriers that were preventing black people from moving into finance,” Tucker said in a phone interview with She Spends.
After the two realized how few people of color work in positions of power at hedge funds, they decided to work to change it. “I don’t think that we invest enough into our public schools,” Onuoha said. “Minorities are much more likely to attend public schools at higher rates than white people.”
This then leads to fewer black students accepted at Ivy League schools, which often accept students who attend private schools during their high school years, according to Onuoha. This results in fewer people of color at top financial institutions, making major money decisions, he added.
“There are black students out there who are interested in finance but don’t have the same opportunities available to them,” Onuoha said. “We’re giving the students the exposure that they need.”
Here’s how BLK Capital works: Students at some of the top schools in the nation apply to the program. If accepted, they complete an education program that simulates the way along-short hedge fund operates.
Students in the program research small publicly traded companies, even taking meetings with leadership at those companies to determine whether they would make good investments. In effect, they simulate the investment experience. The program also offers a portfolio building competition, which was held for the first time in 2018.
BLK is currently receiving funding from several large financial institutions. “They are trying to push for diversity recruiting,” Onuoha said. “That was the demand we took advantage of. In return they gave us monetary donation.”
Though founded by two men, BLK has a special focus on black women who hope to get into the world of hedge funds. “One of our main points is that we wanted BLK to not only be a strong place for black students, but black female analysts,” Tucker said.
As for what’s next for the group?
“The biggest thing we’re looking forward to is having a graduated class of alumni,” said Onuoha. “That will help us build our community on Wall Street.”
Once that community exists, Onuoha sees program graduates as future mentors, eventually building up a network of people of color on Wall Street.
(Editor's note: While this column is usually entitled "She Represents," we changed the name to "They Represent" this week because we are featuring two male founders who are making a huge difference for women of color in finance).
- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #57