Mutual funds firms exhibit the highest level of overall AAPI attrition between entry-level and senior-level positions, the study noted. While almost one-fifth of junior positions at mutual funds are held by AAPIs, less than 8% of senior executives are AAPIs, resulting in an attrition rate of more than 55%.
In addition, only about 12% of real estate professionals (of all ranks) are AAPIs, with only 7.6% having obtained senior-level positions in that field.
While private equity tends to have the highest overall AAPI representation across seniority levels, the attrition rate here is still almost 50% between junior levels — where AAPIs occupy almost one- fourth of the workforce — to the most senior.
With respect to AAPI women in asset management, they comprise 14.2% of all senior-level women — versus the aforementioned figure of 9.9% of AAPIs as a whole who comprise senior-level positions.
However, the study cited that since about 20% fewer women (regardless of ethnicity) enter the investment management industry compared to men — combined with the fact that both females and AAPIs (men and women) face a 50% attrition rate in their careers — the overall female AAPI representation in the asset management business still remains "staggeringly low."
Mutual fund firms show the lowest representation levels of female AAPI employees as well as a high degree of attrition. On the whole, less than 10% of women are AAPIs at the highest level of seniority in this industry.
Brenda Chia, AAAIM's board co-chair, said in the study that by hindering the progress of both male and female AAPIs, asset management firms are "losing highly qualified, smart and driven leaders who bring the perspectives and experience required to serve an increasingly diverse world."
In contrast, by encouraging AAPI retention and leadership, firms have the "potential to harness immense growth," AAAIM said in the study.
On the whole, AAPIs "face structural barriers to advancement due to existing promotional practices within established social groups," the AAAIM report stated. "This status quo makes it difficult for high-performing minorities to integrate into the upper echelons of top firms. At the same time, AAPIs face particular forms of unconscious bias, which lead to unique and often overlooked obstacles."
The study looked at the top 100 firms in each asset class — private equity, real estate, hedge funds and public equity — and collected the employee information of over 20,000 individuals.