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Wilshire Consulting looks to improve diversity in search process

To promote money manager diversity, Wilshire Consulting has launched a new initiative that includes changes to its compensation system and search process for public securities managers, the consulting firm announced Monday.

"Women and minorities remain underrepresented in our industry, and ensuring that clients are aware of the many talented firms led by these managers is a priority for Wilshire Consulting," said Andrew Junkin, president, in a news release. "We remain committed to producing insightful research focused on addressing the investment opportunities and challenges facing our clients, and we are confident that this initiative will enable us to work more successfully with diverse-owned firms."

Wilshire, which consults on nearly $1 trillion in assets, said it will include at least one diverse-owned firm in every search for public securities managers "where products are available that fit the client mandate."

Additionally, the firm "has changed its compensation system such that one of the qualitative criteria for senior consultants for incentive compensation is the quality and level of interaction with diverse-owned firms."

Other actions the firm will undertake include taking steps to broaden its outreach to diverse-owned mangers; creating educational seminars for diverse-owned managers in 2018; including a statistic showing the percentage of ownership held by women or minorities at all firms in Wilshire's standard search books; and renaming its emerging manager asset class committee, which historically dealt with smaller firms to the diverse-owned manager asset class committee to reflect that there are larger diverse-owned firms with more than $2 billion in assets under management.

"Wilshire recognizes that we have the talent, performance is there, and interest among asset owners for diverse managers is growing, so it's smart business to connect supply and demand in this way," said Robert Raben, president and founder of the Raben Group and director of the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative, in the news release. Raben Group is a public policy firm and lobbying group.

In a follow-up telephone interview, Mr. Raben said that while there are other consulting firms besides Wilshire that have made efforts to promote money manager diversity, there has not been a comprehensive public effort by investment consulting firms to make it part of their business.