JPMorgan and Sutton Trust launch $4.8m bursary fund for low-income students

US investment bank JPMorgan Chase and the Sutton Trust have launched a £4.8m bursary fund for university students to improve access to employability opportunities.

The fund, which will see students from low-income and Black and minority ethnic backgrounds participate in professional development and skills training, will start with 350 students over the next 10 years, the bank said in a 25 February statement.

More City firms have turned their attention to diversity initiatives as the pressure on companies intensified with the pandemic bringing a heightened increase in environmental, social and governance issues, or ESG.

The bursaries will help finance opportunities like internships, study abroad programmes, volunteering experiences, additional courses or training and essential living costs. Sixty percent of the bursaries will target BME students, the bank’s statement said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated historic inequities and structural barriers to opportunity for young people from low income backgrounds – especially Black and other ethnic minority groups,” said Viswas Raghavan, chief executive of JPMorgan EMEA.

“Good jobs are key to social mobility and improving the employability of disadvantaged students is an important first step towards a promising, sustainable and well paid career.”

The application process for the bursaries will start this summer and will be offered in every academic year. The Sutton Trust will share more information “in the coming months”, the statement said.

Separately, JPMorgan’s Brazil executive director said in an interview with Bloomberg that corporations must be more transparent about diversity in their ranks. This, Gilberto Costa argued, would help investors recognise those that are not doing enough to address ESG issues.

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