Ahead of International Women's Day, InvestmentEurope speaks to the judging panel for this year's Women In Investment Awards Italy 2020, who have been assigned the difficult task of honouring 11 of the most inspiring women in Italy's asset management industry.
Four of the sixteen judges making up the panel, discuss their key criteria to assess an entry and the importance of this kind of Awards for the sector.
Guendalina Bolis, CEO at the Spanish asset manager Inversis Gestión, believes that awards (and rewards) are important in any industry given they allow outstanding professionals to get public recognition for their professional and/or social work.
Bolis says: "Most of the time these people are working in the shadow for the benefit of the society and us, as a society, we must reward all person that work for improving our currently life and that allow future generation to live in a better world."
When asked for the main qualities she looks for in an entry, she says to be looking for an outstanding person who has proved herself in different situations and is truly implicated in the "inclusion concept."
Bolis adds: "In my opinion my top candidate is a generous and humble person: for me, those two qualities, are the winners."
Aaron Pugliesi, secretary general and CEO at the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy, believes that industry awards are important because they represent "a physical manifestation of the request for gender parity coming from within and around the industry."
Pugliesi adds: "They also offer an opportunity to identify those individuals, and their companies, who are actively contributing to the progress towards diversity and gender equality."
With regards to the winning qualities that make an entry stand out, he cites authenticity, creativity and reach/impact. "It is the task of the Awards to make stand out those with merit, and for the judges to recognise them, even if they don't naturally stand out."
Manuela Fröhlich, co-founder & Partner of Fondsfrauen GmbH, says it is crucial to increase visibility of the amazing female talent in the investment industry while showcasing them as much as possible. She says: "Especially, because the myth of not having enough women to promote to higher levels needs to be refuted publicly.
"These women will be powerful role models for the peers within our trade and also attract the much needed young professionals to join us."
According to Fröhlich, a combination of the nominees' own answers and the testimonials from their colleagues and clients are key to assess the entries. "Whilst reading through all of the submitted information, I need to feel their ambition for the category they are nominated in, along with the right facts & figures to support a nomination.
"Examples for achievements are always a bonus. I prefer clear, straightforward and personal answers, over general ambiguous phrases."
Patrizia Bussoli, working for the asset allocation research team at the Italian asset manager Pramerica SGR, says that the combination of human and professional qualities is the key for an entry to stand out.
She outlines: "Women have characteristics that allow them to develop a new leadership model in a technological society like their ability to show how to succeed, achieve results and overcome difficulties, create networks within the company and outside, contribute to their company's cultural development on diversity, be able to demonstrate how to make a difference."
Bussoli believes that awards like these are relevant because they highlight value among women professionals, they also combat some of the existing difficulties in being recognised within the industry, and prompt debate on reshaping cultural changes at various levels.
She continues: "The financial industry needs to become more aware of its key role in economic development. It manages the financial capital in a society currently facing major challenges such as climate change and inequality. Human capital is a driver in this context.
"Creating a working environment and organisations that allow people to express themselves and create added value to contribute to a sustainable growth, is of primary importance.
"The issue of diversity is a driver to move to a context of integration of human resources. Women's role is an integral part of this process and needs yet to be fully recognised, at all levels.
"Many steps need to be taken to grow in equality, transparency, cooperation, structural and cultural changes, to reduce and close the existent differences. There is the need for new role models."
Nominations open until 27 March
The awards are open to firms operating in Italy's investment industry. Nominees can be involved in roles including but not limited to fund management, wealth management, investment research, financial advice, investment analysis, institutional investments, marketing, sales, human resources, compliance, middle, front or back office within the investment sector. The nominees must work in Italy or can show that the majority of their work is done in the Italian region.
Individuals can nominate themselves or be nominated by another person. Click here to submit your nomination.
Nominations must be submitted by 27 March. For more information on the criteria and nomination process, click here.
The Awards will be celebrating their second edition on 15 October 2020 in Milan following a successful inaugural launch event in 2019. Their aim is to highlight once again the great job and achievements done by female financial professionals who work focused on the Italian market.