Like a true family, INSEAD is always there to return to.
Anne Richards has 22 years of investment experience across all main asset classes, including 11 years as Chief Investment Officer with Aberdeen Asset Management plc, a FTSE100 company, where she is also a main board director.
Since graduating from INSEAD with her MBA in 1992, Anne has received recognition as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2005) and was named by the Financial News’ in their list of 100 Most Influential Women in European Finance (2012). She was also awarded the European Chief Investment Officer Award from Funds Europe (2012).
“I chose INSEAD partly because of its reputation and partly because of its location – I had previously lived in France and was keen to return there. When I began at INSEAD, I thought I would be learning management tools that would help me in a career in an industrial or technology related company. However, in my first semester I fell in love with financial markets to which I had previously had no exposure, and that prompted me to look for a job in fund management on graduation.”
“With hindsight, although I gained a lot of technical and intellectual knowledge in the areas of finance, economics, statistics, strategy and marketing, in many respects the two most useful courses were on the softer skills of negotiation analysis and organisational behaviour. I have reverted to some of the things I learned on those courses time and time again. As an engineer, having an MBA in addition also gave me a stamp of “financial literacy’ that opened doors that would previously have been closed to me.”
“INSEAD broadened my outlook in numerous different ways and I think taught me the importance of balance and giving back as well as drive and ambition.”
After INSEAD, Anne briefly joined an investment management company as an engineering analyst, then moved to portfolio management, firstly with JP Morgan Investment Management and then Mercury Asset Management, later Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.
Anne is a regular speaker at conferences around the world on a wide variety of business, investment, pensions, economic and market related topics. She is also a strong advocate of the need for diversity in the workplace generally and in the board room in particular and is one of BBC’s #ExpertWomen.
“Another area which I am very active in is around diversity in its broadest sense but also specifically in respect of gender. For several years now I have run a series of events called “Backroom to Boardroom”, all aimed at helping more women make it to the very top of their organisations. I am also a member of the Board of Leaders of 2020 Women on Boards, a US organisation focused on getting women onto the boards of American companies.”
Outside of work she has a number of charitable interests. In particular she is a member of the governing body of the University of Edinburgh and chair of its audit committee. She is also on the board of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, music being one of her lifelong passions. She recently stepped down after eight years of being on the board of another charity, EveryChild, which works internationally focusing on children at risk of separation from their families.
Anne’s advice to future INSEAD students is “to balance the gaining of knowledge with making friends from a rich cultural mix. The huge diversity of background is a great learning experience in itself and to be treasured. There are so many memories, but the parties have to stand out as being the most fun. We were also lucky to have a fantastic working group. The great thing about the INSEAD family is that, despite our busy lives, like a true family it is always there to return to.”