Diversity harder to find at the top in money management firms – survey – Pensions & Investments

Although lower-level roles within money management firms are the most diverse in terms of race and gender, board members and those with equity ownership stakes in an organization are the least diverse, according to the results of a survey from investment consultant Meketa Investment Group.

Meketa’s first annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Questionnaire, which surveyed 283 money managers in January, found that though most managers answered questions on policies and initiatives, many abstained from reporting diversity statistics for decision-making positions such as boards of directors, equity owners and senior management.

For example, 232 firms chose to report diversity statistics for their firm, but only 128 firms chose to report diversity statistics for their boards, with 125 providing those figures for equity ownership.

Meanwhile, respondents with the highest percentage of minority and female employees, revealed that operations functions were 48% minority and 57% female. Administrative positions among respondents with the highest percentage of minority and female employees were 56% minority and 100% female.

However, across all categories, Veteran and disabled employee representation was less than 1%.

“While we are pleased with the response to our first annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Questionnaire, we do expect to see progress in DE&I efforts and even greater questionnaire participation over time,” said Peter Woolley, co-CEO of Meketa Investment Group, in a news release announcing the results.

The questionnaire results also revealed that larger investment firms have more robust policies and dedicate a more resources to DE&I initiatives than smaller organizations. Many smaller firms that rank high for diversity statistics do not have spcific policies in place due to lack of resources.

Of the firms surveyed, only 28% have a plan to expand equity ownership to women or minorities.

Very few companies extend DE&I efforts to service providers, with only 18% including DE&I policy reviews in their evaluation of providers, and 29% partnering with minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprise service providers.

“Moving forward, we believe investment managers can further differentiate themselves by implementing a variety of DE&I-focused initiatives such as diversifying boards, expanding ownership, establishing mentorship opportunities for staff, and partnering with MWDBE service providers,” Mr. Woolley added. “Such efforts will further advance our industry and lead to more informed evaluation and decision making in the years ahead.”

The results of Meketa’s questionnaire will be used in its manager evaluation and selection process. The questionnaire will also be included in all the firm’s RFPs and due diligence questionnaires for managers going forward.

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