Integrating diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) into teams and cultures is a long-term project, and asset management firms are boosting their efforts to make it happen, according to survey findings by Meketa Investment Group.
The Boston-based consulting and OCIO firm distributed its third annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Questionnaire to all public and private markets asset management firms in its database in November 2022. A total of 528 firms responded — a 5% increase from 2021 and a whopping 55% increase from 2020.
The questionnaire was divided into three sections: Transparency and Reporting, Policies and Initiatives and Employee Conduct.
As far as reporting is concerned, 74% of respondents said they released annual diversity statistics to their clients, while the share of those that released statistics to consultants, prospects, and regulators were 70%, 58% and 23%, respectively.
The questionnaire found lower-level positions are the most diverse by both racial and gender measures. As in previous years, women continue to be the least represented in portfolio management (21%), but the turnover rate was 16% higher for men than women in 2022 — a big swing from the previous survey, when the turnover rate was 4% higher for women. Overall, women comprised 40% of new hires and promotions in 2022.
The results also showed diverse employees are least represented on boards (25%), and about 60% of new hires and promotions in 2022 were given to non-racially diverse people.
The share of firms that monitor gender pay gap disparities increased significantly to 11%, while those that monitor racial pay gap disparities increased to 12%. A total of 80% of firms said they engaged with organizations or programs designed to improve recruitment and retention of diverse groups, but when it came to formal mentorship, sponsorship, or employer affinity programs for women or diverse groups, the figure dropped to 56%. On the downside, the percentage of firms that partner with MWDBE service providers increased at a third the rate from the previous year.
“While there is still work to do, we are pleased to see a growing number of female and diverse individuals in equity ownership, senior management, and portfolio management, and are encouraged by the actions taken to achieve better results and create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive firms,” said Meketa Co-CEO Peter Woolley.
Meketa made a series of recommendations for asset management firms to differentiate themselves on the DEI front. Meketa said firms should establish a plan of action to add more representation to key decision-making positions; assess how a firm’s policies and committees align with its overall DEI strategy; consider increasing sponsorship opportunities to elevate underrepresented groups; and assess how service providers’ DEI policies fit with the firm’s values.
“Meketa remains committed to making the institutional investment industry more resilient and equitable,” said Co-CEO Stephen McCourt. “As we continue this initiative on an annual basis, we hope that sharing the findings and recommendations with asset managers will help make the industry more resilient and equitable for years to come.”