Jul 10, 2020
I am a white South African male who grew up under a cruel system of overt racial discrimination in favour of people like me. I have seen the ugly face of racism and opposed it, but I cannot begin to understand the pain of those subjected to that kind of abuse. What I can say is that racism, in various forms, subtle or overt, remains a pervasive problem. Once we acknowledge this, we must eradicate it, wherever we encounter it.
At Ninety One we have spent nearly thirty years developing our culture and our social contract. We have deeply embedded our single core value, namely to do the right thing and we have made relationships as important as results. This includes embracing diversity and inclusivity. We need to treat each other how we would want to be treated ourselves. Decency is core to this approach. We work hard to make people of all backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and perspectives feel welcome in team Ninety One. We do not tolerate racism or abuse of power in our business. We can always do better and must work hard at this.
As citizens of the world, your country, your city and your community, I encourage you to stand up for what is right and not to look the other way when it is inconvenient to confront what is wrong. As individuals that is your right and civic duty. As a concrete action to actively support initiatives that are engaged in advocating for justice and equality, I am letting you know that we will extend our COVID matching scheme to include charities concentrating on the issues of racism, social justice and societal inequality. We will match your contributions. Please put your money to work. It is a direct and concrete thing to do.
Let’s continue our work for a better, more inclusive world, through our investing activities but also through our willingness to stand up for our values. It is our duty to actively combat and eradicate racism. Let me conclude with a quote from my hero, Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
Best regards and stay safe,