“For whatever reason, the asset management industry decided graduates from eight schools would be the talent base for the industry,” he said, referring to the Ivy League universities. Consequently, he said, talent from across the country and the world has been overlooked.
A little more than a year ago, Duffie noted, the Milken Institute launched an HBCU program where it recruited 16 students from regionally diverse historically Black colleges and universities, educated them on financial topics for eight weeks, assisted them in securing internships in the asset management industry, and exposed them to mentors at the best-known firms on Wall Street.
“The program serves as proof that we can have more efficient and better-performing firms if we’re thoughtful about how talent is sourced,” he added.
Lauren Mathias, senior vice president, non-U.S. equity investment consultant in Callan’s global manager research group and the firm’s diversity, equity, and belonging champion, observed that many corporations have sought out diverse high school students to educate them on the asset management industry.
“If we are able to continue educating more youth, regardless of decisions made on admissions, we should see diverse talent pursuing higher education and ultimately asset management as a career,” she added.
Educational policies can impact the talent pipeline, said Sasha Jensen, founder and CEO of executive search firm Jensen Partners. “While changes in admissions criteria (at universities) might pose challenges, it underscores the importance of (asset management) firms broadening their talent-sourcing strategies,” she said. “Partnerships with diverse professional organizations and re-imagining talent criteria can help.”
Crystal Castille-Cromedy, senior vice president of talent and chief diversity officer at Hines, a real estate investment firm, said that a firm’s DEI culture matters when it comes to attracting the next generation of talent.
“We are seeing more students, of all backgrounds, more keenly interested in working for an organization where DEI is an important element of it culture,” she said.
Hines has $98.5 billion in AUM.
Internal training and development of employees is another inroad into broadening leadership, industry experts said.
“We are committed to closing the ‘role gap’ that exists throughout the financial service industry by building a pipeline of future female leaders and deliberately embedding DEI into how we run our business,” said Racheal Hanifan, head of human resources-Americas at Schroders. The efforts include running an annual global training initiative that provides interactive events, providing practical tips and insights on inclusive behaviors, regularly reviewing policies and benefits to ensure inclusivity, asking questions about inclusion as part of its regular employee inclusion surveys, providing manager training to promote inclusion and empower employees to talk about DEI within their teams, and regularly featuring stories from employees and senior leaders across the business on the importance of DEI, she explained.
Schroders has about $923.1 billion in assets under management.
Patrick Halter, president of Principal Asset Management, said his firm is committed to maintaining a strong pipeline of diverse workers through a focus on global inclusion initiatives.
Such efforts include improving recruiting and hiring; learning and development programs; and equitable practices including global pay equity. Principal also has employee resources groups, global mentorship programs and an employee inclusion summit.
Halter cited that almost half of Principal Asset Management employees currently are women and 11% are people of color. Within the investment teams, 26% are women and 11% are people of color and within the distribution teams, 30% are women and 10% are people of color.
Principal has AUM of $674 billion.