Left to right : Mr. Collins Spencer, Mr. Oliver Franklin, The Rt. Hon. Lord Walker of Worcester PC MBE, Sir Alastair Hunter KCMG, Mr. Luis Alvarez, Dr. Ray Raymond.
Launching the City Fellowships July 1991.
Since 1990, City Fellowship has transformed the lives and careers of many young minority financial service professionals. Today, in financial terms, City Fellows is the largest US-UK Fellowship program.


Left to right : Dr. Ray Raymond, The Rt. Hon. Lord Walker of Worcester PC MBE, Mr. Oliver Franklin

The story begins in September 1990 in Oliver's library in Philadelphia. One Saturday morning he showed Ray his collection of the first editions of eighteenth and early nineteenth century American slave writers books. The quality of the writing was exceptional. What was surprising was that this wonderful body of work was published in London. This discovery prompted both of us to uncover the history of Britain's relationship with the African-American community. What we learned was that HM Queen Victoria, the British government and, above all, the British anti-slavery movement had played an important role in the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Inspired by this historical example, we decided were going to create something to renew this relationship. We did not know what it was going to be yet, but we knew it had to be something special that would meet the needs of young African-Americans and other minorities. We consulted widely to determine where we should best focus our efforts. Every minority leader or scholar we spoke to told us the same thing : concentrate on economic empowerment. Our first thought was what do we have in the British tool kit that could help? The answer was the City of London, the world's most international financial services center.

By the early 1990s, Oliver had left Philadelphia City government for Wall Street. There he quickly saw the financial service industry's tremendous potential to help young minorities earn high salaries and , therefore, begin to accumulate wealth. Over time, we agreed that this could help solve one of the most pressing problems in minority communities: the lack of transferable wealth between generations. At the same time, Oliver was shocked though not surprised by how few people of color there were at senior management level on Wall Street. Together we resolved to do something about it.

Now the question was how best could we achieve our goals. We decided that a high level work experience fellowship in the City of London was the best way forward. This would give young minorities the opportunity to get hands on experience of global markets and global money management ahead of their age cohort.. We thought this option had three advantages. First, it could help strengthen relationships between the "successor generation" on Wall Street and in the City of London. Second, it could add a multicultural dimension to Anglo-American diplomacy. Third, it would give young minority financial service professionals the opportunity to get the kind of global experience that would help enrich their lives and transform their careers.

Next, we had to convince a senior figure in the City of London that our idea of a work experience fellowship for young US minorities was viable. Ray saw an opportunity when Lord Walker of Worcester, the Chairman of Thornton's a British asset management company, and a distinguished former British Cabinet Minister was scheduled to visit New York. Lord Walker was one of the most remarkable figures in post-war British politics. A self-made millionaire at 24, elected a Member of Parliament at 28, Lord Walker had held senior Cabinet posts under 3 British Prime Ministers: Edward Heath (1970-1974), Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and John Major (1990-1997). What made Lord Walker rare among British politicians of his generation was his passionate commitment to racial equality and social justice.

Over dinner at the elegant residence of Sir Alastair Hunter, HM Consul General and Director General of Trade and Investment (USA), Ray presented our idea. Lord Walker listened carefully and replied :"I think the fellowship is a great idea and I will take the first one." He was as good his word. Lord Walker welcomed our first Fellow, Brian Jones, to Thorntons and the program was born. With consistent encouragement from the then British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Robin (now Lord) Renwick and with tireless support from Sir Alastair Hunter and Lord Walker we began to build the program.

Over time, however, we saw the need to anchor the program with a world class American investment bank. In 1999, Ray's friend and former West Point colleague, Steve Daffron, introduced us to Goldman Sachs. Steve, then a senior Goldman Sachs executive, not only championed the program, but helped institutionalize it within the firm. Since then, thanks to sterling support and oversight by Sue Hunt, David Buckley, Sally Boyle, Tom Mattox and Dane Holmes we have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is a company with an extraordinary commitment to diversity with whom we can entrust our Fellows secure in the knowledge that they will receive the guidance and support they need to succeed.

In 2010, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the program at a reception in St. James's Place London in the presence of His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York. Today, in financial terms, City Fellows is the biggest the US-UK Fellowship program and the only one exclusively devoted to empowering minorities and strengthening the links between the City of London and Wall Street.

20th Anniversary Reception with HRH The Duke of York St James Palace London

In October 2010 The City Fellowships in Financial Services marked its 20th anniversary with a reception in St. James's Palace London in the presence of His Royal Highness Prnce Andrew KCVO, The Duke of York. The event was attended by all Fellows and alumni in the UK, senior executives from Goldman Sachs, members of the House of Commons and House of Lords as well numerous friends and allies of the program.

Mr. Oliver Franklin, Co-Founder, addresses the
20th anniversary guests

His Royal Highness, The Duke of York addresses
the 20th anniversary guests

Dr. Ray Raymond addresses
the 20th anniversary guests

HRH The Duke of York greets City Fellows & alumni

HRH The Duke of York addresses assembled
City Fellows and alumni

City Fellows alumni joke with His Royal Highness