I am an African-American woman, a Stanford University graduate and co-founder of an asset management firm. I have spent the majority of my 20-plus year career working with minority- and women-owned business enterprises firms, raising assets for and/or providing strategic advice to help them grow. Having held senior positions at private equity firms, hedge funds and publicly traded banks, I have listened to my fair share of panel discussions about diversity, capital access and the "accomplishments" of public pension plans that have allocated capital to minority asset managers. I am expected to applaud these efforts. But why?
Recently, I have seen statements from numerous institutions pledging support to black and brown communities — attempting to acknowledge the racial injustice that exists in this country. While I appreciate their commitments, it is gratuitous at best. Before another member of the asset management community issues a statement regarding diversity and inclusion, I ask you to think deeply about what you are writing, why you are sending it, and why it took the public killing of an unarmed black man and nationwide protests for you to publicly raise your voice in support.
Today, minority firms manage less than 1% of the assets of a trillion-dollar industry. If the asset management industry really wants to address its racial biases, let's cut through the platitudes and have an honest dialogue.
I am here to start that discussion.