NEPC reports DEI progress

Boston investment consulting firm NEPC found that 59% of its clients use diverse managers with $41 billion in client assets being placed with diverse firms, according to its second annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Progress Report.

“Our goal is to be a change agent for the democratization of access to capital,” Sam Austin, partner and governance board member, manager of NEPC’s Western U.S. Public Funds Team, and chair of NEPC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board. “To do that, NEPC is committed to being radically transparent at all levels — from the way we hire talent to the way we engage with diverse investment managers.”

Last year, NEPC launched its Explorer Program that was designed to identify and engage with diverse-owned and -led investment management firms that are not currently top-rated by NEPC. The firm thoughtfully increased its vetting of diverse managers by almost 30% in 2021 due to the initiatives such as the Explorer Program.

The firm, which has $1.4 trillion in assets under advisement, completed 315 meetings with diverse managers over the past two years. This surpassed NEPC’s original goal of 132 meetings.

“The industry is aware of the importance of increasing diversity at all levels, but we’ve come to realize that it’s a goal that can only be achieved through bold action by investment consultants,” said Mike Manning, managing partner and president of NEPC. “As gatekeepers for trillions of dollars of assets, consultants have the power to ensure that governments, institutions, families and individuals are preserving and growing their capital across asset classes and market cycles in ways that create enduring, equitable, and inclusive change for the investment industry and our world.”

The firm reported that 30% of its partners are also from diverse backgrounds. In September, NEPC is planning to host in Atlanta the Investment Diversity Advisory Council National Summit on DEI.

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