Black pioneers and their pathways that have positively impacted the financial industry

Wednesday 20 October 2021


Author: Fola Anjorin, CFA, Keshia Osei-Kufuor, MA, Pelumi Olawale, CFA, Sylvia Solomon, ASIP, IMC 

During Black History Month, CFA UK celebrates the accomplishments and impact made by a diverse group of black professionals on the financial and economic landscape.

October is Black History Month, and an opportunity to honour the accomplishments of a group of black professionals who have been significant leaders in their fields. Selected in collaboration with CFA UK’s Black Professionals Working Group, these individuals have broken career barriers, significantly changed their local communities, and have fundamentally impacted the financial and economic landscape globally. Information about who they are and their considerable positive influence has been compiled below:


Kofi Annan

Most notable position held: A Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Impact: Annan planted the seeds for the modern corporate sustainability movement with the launch of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment and the UN Global Compact of shared values and principles. The primary goal of this institution is to stimulate global trade and to adopt ecologically feasible and socially responsible policies. He reformed the UN bureaucracy and was the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself. He worked to combat HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa. He was the founding chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, whose fundamental aim is to promote global peace and better governance, as well as being chairman of The Elders, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela to resolve some of the world's most intractable conflicts.

Career Progression: Annan joined the United Nations in 1962, working for the World Health Organisation’s Geneva office as a budget and administrative officer. He went on to work in several capacities at UN headquarters, including serving as the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

Education: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Economics), Macalester College (Economics), Graduate Institute Geneva (Diplôme D'études Approfondies), Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management (Master’s degree, Management)


Reginald ‘Reggie’ M Browne

Most Notable Position held: Modern-day pioneer and innovator of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Described as the ‘Godfather of ETFs’ by Forbes and ‘Mr ETF’ by Bloomberg Markets.

Impact: Browne has been at the forefront in the development and transformation of the ETF markets, working with regulators and exchanges to develop new and more efficient trading rules. He currently works as a Principal at the global trading firm GTS and is one of the most influential executives in building the ETF landscape.  He also plays the role of an ambassador, educating investors and institutions on the power of financial inclusion.

Career Progression: Browne landed a summer job at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange at the age of 15 through an executive he was paired with as an eagle scout. His career in ETFs started in 1997. Prior to GTS, Browne was a senior Managing Director and Co-Head of the ETF Group at Cantor Fitzgerald. He has held senior leadership roles at NewEdge USA, Susquehanna International Group and O’Connor Associates. He was awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award by and serves as a trustee to his alma mater, La Salle University, and to many educational and art institutions.

Education: La Salle University (BA in Business Administration)


Daryn Dodson

Most Notable Position held: Managing Director and Founder of Illumen Capital Management, an impact fund that seeks to increase gender and racial equity within financial markets.

Impact: Dodson sits on the Dean’s Management Board at Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for Ben & Jerry’s. He has co-authored published research examining the influence of race in the financial judgements of asset allocators. Furthermore, Dodson sits on the ‘Future of Finance Advisory Council’, which provides oversight for the Future of Finance project, and offers independent and strategic advice to CFA Institute staff on the project’s areas of focus.

Career Progression: Dodson served as Director of University and Corporate Partnership for The Idea Village, a non-profit where he created a platform engaging leading private equity firms, business schools, and Fortune 500 companies to invest over 100,000 hours and US$2 million into more than 1,000 New Orleans entrepreneurs, post-Hurricane Katrina.  He then became a Consultant, leading the Special Equities Program at Calvert Funds, a $12 billion pioneer of the impact investing field. Currently, he is Vice-President of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, as well as the Managing Director and Founder of Illumen Capital Management.

Education: Duke University (AB), Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA)


Gillian Elcock

Most Notable Position held: Founder and Director of Denny Ellison Enterprises, an independent research and analyst training company, as well as the Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Denny Ellison Investment Management (DEIM).

Impact: In 2012, Elcock started volunteering with the CFA UK and has supported the Research Analysts Special Interest Group, the Careers and Membership Committees, the SIG Council and the Networks Steering Committee. These roles earned her the award of CFA UK Volunteer of the Year in 2017. Subsequently, she joined the Board of the CFA UK, becoming the first black woman to do so. She was named a finalist in the ‘Investment Analyst of the Year’ category of the 2018 Women in Investment Awards.

Career Progression: Elcock started her career in consulting at The Boston Consulting Group. She then worked as an Equity Research Analyst at Putnam Investments and as a Senior Equity Research Analyst at Insight Investment before establishing her own company in 2010. In that same year, Elcock published her award-winning book: How to Get an Equity Research Analyst Job: A Guide to Starting a Career in Asset Management.

Education: Massachusetts Institution of Technology (BSc and MEng in Computer Science), Harvard University (MBA).


Sir William Arthur Lewis

Most Notable Position held: The first black person to be awarded the Nobel prize for Economics in 1979.

Impact: Arthur Lewis became the UK’s first black faculty member in 1938 at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he had also been the institution’s first black student. His subsequent appointment by the University of Manchester in 1948 made him the UK’s first black lecturer.  In 1963, he was knighted by the British government and also became the first black man given full professorship at Princeton University.  Thereafter, he became the first president of the Caribbean Development Bank in 1970. He left a legacy in economics as the inventor of the “Lewis Model” also known as the “Dual Sector Model”.

Career Progression: Arthur Lewis enjoyed a career as both an academic and economic advisor.  As an academic, he worked for LSE, University of Manchester and Princeton University. As an economic advisor, he advised several African and Caribbean countries such as Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and became Ghana’s first economic advisor when the country gained independence in 1957. 

Education: London School of Economics (Bachelor of Commerce and PhD in Industrial Economics)


Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Most Notable Position held: Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) based in Geneva.  She is the first African and first woman to hold this position.

Impact: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala chaired the replenishment of over $40 billion for the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), and led several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries.  She was also the first woman to be appointed as the Minister of Finance in Nigeria and was appointed twice to the position. 

Career Progression: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career with the World Bank as a developing economist, rising to the number 2 position as Managing Director, Operations, where she was responsible for the Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. She made great impact as Finance Minister by leading negotiations with the Paris Club to remove $30 billion of Nigeria’s debt.  Her reforms contributed to a tripling of Nigeria’s economic growth rate.  In recognition of her achievements in this position, Euromoney named her Global Finance Minister of the Year in 2005.

She serves as a member of many global and non-profit organisations, including the Board of Trustees for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the International Advisory Panel for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Okonjo-Iweala has been internationally recognised, receiving many titles and awards, including Forbes’ African of the Year in 2020. Additionally, in 2021, she featured on the cover of Time as one of the Time100 - a list of the world’s most influential people.

Education: Harvard University (AB Economics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD in Regional Economics and Development)


Arunma Oteh, OON

Most notable position held: Director General of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) for Nigeria as well as Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank.

Impact: Oteh has been successful at administering over US$7 trillion as the bank to the World Bank, and established the World Bank as a leader in the capital markets.  She oversaw the World Bank’s creation of bond-i, the world’s first bond to be created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life cycle using distributed ledger technology.

Also under Oteh’s leadership, the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) made a historic capital markets debut with the issue of the first bond in its history raising 1.5 billion USD from capital markets, reducing reliance on contributions from donor governments. She pushed for reforms to address abuses in Nigeria’s capital market while leading the SEC.

Career Progression: Oteh joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1992. She was a Senior Investment Officer/Senior Capital Markets Officer from 1993 to 1997. She then served as the Division Manager, Investments and Trading Room from 1997 until 2001, when she was appointed the Bank's Group Treasurer, responsible for fund raising and investments in major international capital markets. In 2006, Oteh was appointed Vice-President for Corporate Management at the AfDB, and was responsible for Language Services, General Services and Procurement, Human Resources, and Information Management and Methods. She became Director General of the SEC of Nigeria in January 2010, after being confirmed by the Nigerian Senate. In July 2015, Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank appointed Oteh as Vice President and Treasurer of the institution. In that capacity, she managed the organisation's $200 billion debt portfolio, as well as an asset portfolio of almost $200 billion for the World Bank Group and 65 external clients, including central banks, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

In late 2018, Oteh left the World Bank to join St Antony's College, University of Oxford, as an academic scholar and an Executive-in-Residence at Saïd Business School.  In 2021, she was also appointed Chair of the Royal African Society.

Education: University of Nigeria in Nsukka (Computer Science), Harvard University (MBA


H.R.H. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Most notable position held: Served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009-2014, and Emir (Sarki) of the ancient city-state of Kano.

Impact: Sanusi initiated extensive banking reforms built around ensuring financial stability in Nigeria from 2009 to 2014, such as introducing a cashless policy in the country, and whistleblowing on financial irregularities in Nigeria’s petroleum industry. As acknowledgement of his work, The Banker Magazine named him World’s Best Central Bank Governor of the Year in 2011.

Career Progression: In 1985, Sanusi began his banking career when he was hired by Icon Limited (a subsidiary of Barings Bank and Morgan Guaranty Trust). In 1997, he returned to the Nigerian banking sector, where he worked for United Bank for Africa and later First Bank of Nigeria as a Board Member and the Chief Executive Officer. 

Education: Ahmadu Bello University (Bachelors and Masters in Economics), International University of Africa (Arabic & Islamic Studies)


Tidjane Thiam

Most notable position held: The first black Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a FTSE 100 company and the first black CEO of Credit Suisse, a leading global wealth manager.  He currently serves as Executive Chairman of Freedom Acquisition Corp.

Impact: Thiam handled key negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as the Head of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development in Cote d’Ivoire. He actively promoted an extensive privatisation programme which saw (between 1994 and 1999), Côte d'Ivoire lead African countries by privatising its telephone, services, electric power generation, airports, railways, and many companies in the agricultural sector.

He was also the first black person to lead a FTSE 100 listed company when he became Chief Executive of Prudential in 2009. During his tenure at Credit Suisse, he led the bank through a restructuring process, while also expanding the wealth management business, generating new assets of €117.7 billion.

Career Progression: Thiam joined McKinsey, working in both New York and Paris between 1990 and 1994. He then returned to Cote d'Ivoire to head the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development (BNETD) from 1994 to 1999. He later joined the cabinet and was appointed Minister of Planning and Development. In 2002, he joined Aviva, initially as Group Strategy and Development Director, then as Managing Director of Aviva International and Chief Executive of Aviva Europe. In 2009, he was named CEO  of Prudential, and then went on to hold the position of CEO of Credit Suisse from 2015 to 2020. Subsequently, in 2020 he was also appointed by the cabinet of Rwanda to head the Board of Rwanda Finance Limited, the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC). In 2021 he was appointed to the High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response by the G20. As a Kering Foundation Board Member, Thiam works to improve the lives of women. More recently, he became a member of the International Olympic Committee and joined their finance commission in 2020.

Education: École Polytechnique,  École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, INSEAD (MBA)


Watch Now: Pioneers and Pathways

In celebration of Black History Month, CFA UK is delighted to commemorate significant contributions to the global finance industry made by pioneering black professionals in our series titled pioneers and pathways.








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