Dame Helena Morrissey is the Head of Personal Investing at Legal and General Investment Management, and is often referred to as one of the most important and powerful money managers in the United Kingdom. The British-born financier and campaigner studied at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, graduating in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and in 2016 Cambridge University awarded Morrissey with an honorary doctorate.
In her position as Head of Personal Investing, Morrissey oversees assets worth almost $1 trillion. In addition to her high-stakes profession, Helena Morrissey is also the chair of a gender-diversity project and the author of ‘A Good Time to Be a Girl’.
Previous to her position at Legal and General Investment Management – please refer to the infographic for a brief history of the company – Morrissey worked in New York as a Fixed Income Fund Analyst and in London as a Fixed Income Fund Manager (both positions at Schroders), before moving on to become a Fixed Income Fund Manager at Newton Investment Management. Morrissey became Chief Executive Officer at Newton Investment Management in 2001, and remained in the position until 2016.
In her work as a campaigner, Morrissey set up the 30% Club which aims to increase the amount of female representation on company boards, as well as being a trustee to the Eve Appeal, which is a charity that raises funds for gynaecological cancers.
Morrissey is also on the CEO Advisory Board for the Diversity Project, which works towards a truly inclusive and diverse culture in the investment profession; please refer to the attached PDF for further information on the work of the Diversity Project.
Morrissey was the former chairperson on the corporate board for the Royal Academy of Arts, is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 2017 was appointed a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to diversity in the financial industry.
During her time at LGIM (Legal and General Investment Management) the company introduced GIRL (The L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund), which is the first investment fund of its kind to promote gender diversity in British businesses. Under the GIRL Fund, LGIM will look to prioritise shares in companies that have the best results for gender diversity as a way to encourage greater diversity. LGIM has put £50 million into the fund.
Morrissey is an inspiration to many women in finance such as Joey Horn, who has been working in finance since 1987.
Morrissey has advised women not to emulate or act like their male colleagues, and instead to try to reimagine the workplace so that it functions well for all employees.
Morrissey has espoused the importance of being authentic in the workplace, and warns against suppressing those things that make each employee individual as it may end up limiting one’s success.
Morrissey also advises employees to offer suggestions and solutions to the problems that they encounter in the workplace, as employers will be grateful for the increased efficiency and updated work practices.
In order for changes to occur, Morrissey points to the importance of aligning with other people in the workplace – particularly those with more power – as they will be able to put their weight behind a suggestion or change in the workplace.