Oaktree has struck a $90 million 10-year partnership with Apollo and Ares to introduce Black students to private markets.

The firm’s diversity and inclusion head Jerilyn Castillo McAniff told New Private Markets that while collaborating with other firms can make for a slower process, it can lead to better thought-through decisions.

The firms have partnered with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Howard University, to create career opportunities for students in the alternative investment industry. Each of the three asset managers will contribute $3 million each year for 10 years to the AltFinance programme.

Jerilyn Castillo McAniff

“We want to create successful pathways early in a student’s career, and that takes time to build, time to see the fruits of it,” said McAniff. “We’re thinking about the next decade, not just the next hiring season. That’s really about how to build sustainable talent pools, create success for them, create pathways and remove the barriers to access early on.”

But the programme also took longer to put together because it involved several organisations, McAniff added.

“It takes longer to do things with so many stakeholders at the table. You have to listen to everyone, you have to give space for everyone to bring their ideas to the table. When you’re doing something independently as a firm, you can be quick to make decisions, but perhaps those decisions aren’t as fully thought-through because you don’t have as many perspectives at the table.

McAniff compared AltFinance to Oaktree’s Future Leaders programme, which provides students from under-represented backgrounds with training in credit investing. Oaktree came up with the idea in 2017, developed it with internal teams at the firm and delivered it to universities “in just a few months”.

Oaktree appointed McAniff, a managing director, as its first head of diversity and inclusion earlier this month. McAniff joined Oaktree in 2008 and has been a co-head of the firm’s D&I council since 2016. She was previously at JPMorgan.

McAniff was born in the Philippines and moved to the US at a young age. “When I started in this industry, I had sponsors who really took me under their wing and helped me transition to a world that I knew nothing about,” she said.

“When I went to do my first interview in New York, I had never been to the East Coast before. I had been on a plane only a couple times since I came here from the Philippines. That’s the power of a sponsor and a coach. I had people take me under their wing. They knew I was hungry to learn.”

These first-hand experiences of mentoring and sponsorship are what McAniff hopes other students from diverse and minority backgrounds will gain through AltFinance.

AltFinance “has three primary components: a mentored fellowship program, a tailored virtual institute and a scholarship program. Fellowships will provide select students at the partner HBCUs the opportunity to work directly with a mentor and learn the ins and outs of finance and alternatives,” the firms said in a joint statement.

The partnership includes support from the Wharton School and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a non-profit to support Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American people in corporate careers.

Asset managers SVPGlobal, Hirtle Callaghan and Moore Capital Management are sponsoring a similar programme, the Inveniam Equity Internship, in partnership with social mobility organisation Steppingstone Scholars. The internship offers paid work experience to seven “black and brown college students interested in pursuing careers in under-represented industries, including private equity, investment management and venture capital”.