NEW YORK: Girls Who Invest has brought on Water & Wall Group as marketing and PR AOR to support its mission of fixing the gender gap at asset management firms.
Selected through an informal process, Water & Wall officially started work on the account on May 15.
"We were looking for a firm that truly understood the ESG world through a demonstrated track record of accomplishments in that arena and an understanding of what could be possible as we work to create a more even balance in the gender composition of the investing world," Girls Who Invest CEO Janet Cowell said in a statement.
Extending beyond media relations, Water & Wall is tasked with "rethinking" Girls Who Invest’s digital marketing approach and outreach to academic institutions and financial partners, Cowell said.
The firm’s first priority is to raise awareness of Girls Who Invest among female college sophomores and "erase self-doubts they can be effective investment managers," she added.
Water & Wall will also leverage the organization’s network of program alumni to amplify the brand on social media, explained Scott Sunshine, a partner at Water & Wall and lead on the account.
"Too often, [young women] take themselves out of consideration for this type of career because they don’t believe they have the necessary skills," Cowell explained. "We also have to convince the investment industry to open its doors even wider to a more diversified workforce, and many of them, most especially our investment management partners, have done just that."
There is a business case to be made for gender parity in finance, Cowell noted.
"Gender-balanced teams in private equity have a 20% higher net IRR [internal rate of return] than non-gender-balanced teams," she said. "It makes all the sense in the world to work with a team that delivers exponentially higher rates of return, but first, we have to build the gender-balanced pipeline."
Girls Who Invest wants to fill its 2020 class of interns (about 180-200 women), who will embark on a 10-week program next summer, Sunshine said.
That program kicks off with a four-week "learning session," on the campuses of Notre Dame and University of Pennsylvania, in which they will take field trips to meet with CFOs and learn the basics of finance, Sunshine added. From there, candidates will go on a six-week paid internship at some of the most prestigious asset management firms.
Girls Who Invest also has a "30 by 30" plan to have 30% of the world’s investable capital managed by women by 2030, Cowell said. The organization’s partners cover a spectrum of financial services players, such as Goldman Sachs, KKR, General Atlantic, Bank of America, T. Rowe Price and more.
"That’s our ultimate benchmark for success," Cowell said.
Water & Wall Group, a New York-based boutique, came to the fore through its work on State Street Global Advisors’ Fearless Girl campaign in 2017. In addition, Water & Wall Group provided comms support for the Investor Stewardship Group, a who’s who of financial heavyweights that wanted to form consensus around investor stewardship and corporate governance principles.
Cowell cited Water & Wall’s experience doing work for "numerous asset management firms with ESG products" as another reason for why the firm was the "right long-term partner."
Edelman was the incumbent on the account. Edelman representatives were not immediately available for comment.