The money management industry was characterized as one of the last frontiers when it comes to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in our May 17 special report.
That was a tough assessment but not particularly surprising. Asset managers have long struggled to attract, retain and promote not only women and ethnic minorities, but also LGBTQ individuals, veterans, the disabled and caregivers into positions of influence and power.
Events of the past year, however, have put a spotlight on the importance of DEI and what's at stake as managers compete for talent and clients. Far too often, diversity and inclusion are just vague goals that can — without commitment — slip away and be forgotten, much like diverse employees who opt for another career. A crisis, or a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, however, has a way of galvanizing action. In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder on May 25, 2020, the ravages exposed by the coronavirus and calls for reversing racial economic inequities, the pressure has only intensified for action.
Is it too much to hope that asset management can and will change? One new development chronicled in Pensions & Investment's special report on diversity, equity and inclusion is that managers are creating new senior executive positions to lead their DEI efforts.
Having a top-level diversity chief who reports directly to the CEO, rather than being siloed in human resources, is expected to bring greater urgency and accountability to firms' efforts, sources said. And many of these new hires are developing comprehensive metrics to measure their firms' progress.
Building an inclusive culture won't happen overnight. Recruiting and retaining diverse talent takes focus as well as commitment.
But the expected end result is that a more diverse and inclusive workforce will ultimately lead to a thriving and more profitable company buoyed by all of its employees and positioned to compete to meet the needs of its investors.