Georgetown University said its U.S.-based external money managers are overwhelmingly white and male, as the school seeks to spur a dialogue on bringing more diversity to the investing business.
As of the first quarter, men accounted for 80% of the managers with which the endowment entrusts assets, according to a Georgetown report issued this month. Black and Hispanic staff made up 8% combined, while Asians were 20%.
"We have to start somewhere to expand this conversation," said Michael Barry, CIO of the unit overseeing the university's endowment and retirement plan, which had estimated assets of almost $1.9 billion as of June. "Even though the numbers in our portfolio are low, we felt it was better to start talking about it."
Demands for racial equity have spurred investors worldwide to contend with the lack of diverse representation in their portfolios and financial institutions. Firms owned by women or minorities oversaw just 1.3% of the money management industry's $69.1 trillion in assets as of 2016, according to a Knight Foundation and Bella Research Group report.
The investment office had informally tracked the data for four years, surveying its external asset managers in a more structured way for the past two. This year's report, the first released publicly, included 47 managers covering more than half of the portfolio. In addition to staff, the school tracked the number of firms with non-White ownership.
The report didn't cover any non-U.S. firms or include data on the school's in-house investment staff.
The university doesn't have a specific target for assets under management by women or minorities but has a "responsibility to pressure our investment firms on their hiring practices," bringing up the topic at all due diligence meetings, Barry said.
In July, U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver and Joe Kennedy urged the 25 universities with the largest endowments to disclose the share of their assets run by diverse firms. Those schools don't include Georgetown, a private university in Washington.