So many of us have been deeply affected and saddened by the senseless actions that have impacted our nation, including the killing of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and Breonna Taylor, to name just a few. Society must recognize that discrimination is real and toxic. Given these recent events, we have seen an outpouring of support for diversity and inclusion and condemnation of discrimination, prejudice and injustice in all forms. It is heartening to see communities coming together and listening to those voices that have so often been silenced, but this is just a first step.
Aside from the recent instances of brutal and excessive use of police force that we are all too aware of and that must be directly addressed, our society still fails to provide all citizens with core underlying rights such as equal access to health care, a good education and economic opportunities. This lack of access leads to disproportionate gaps in living standards. The path forward is to break down these barriers and open the doors wider for all underrepresented people. The investment management industry must lead by example and hold ourselves accountable to the concrete goal of attracting and retaining a high-quality, diverse workforce that actively promotes and upholds all of our core values and the unique perspectives that we hold true. We must always do our best to find ways to help provide equal access to health care, education and economic opportunities, and we are committed to doing so in any constructive way that we can. Society will be better if everyone receives full and fair consideration.
Now more than ever, companies need to make proactive efforts to promote diverse pools of candidates in the hiring, recruiting, retention and promotion processes. For those companies that are already striving to do this, it is crucial to show others how to begin this process themselves. At Advent, 55% of the team is diverse or female and we have achieved this by successfully recruiting from Sponsors for Educational Opportunities and other minority- or women-focused staffing agencies, which recruit and train accomplished African American, Hispanic and Native American individuals for important summer internships or permanent full-time jobs. Firms can also look to their own networks to see how the institutions they are already connected to, such as colleges and schools, can help expand that network to recruit minority students as well as actively engaging with vendors that have diverse teams and perspectives. As a society we must provide equal access to all in order to encourage and allow for greater diversity. This access is critical in paving the way for a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive society.
For us to succeed, we must be committed to building an environment where employees of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions and ages feel encouraged to share their unique insights. Teamwork has to be part of the basic fabric of any company as the more perspectives we apply to any solution, the better it will be and the less groupthink will occur. The varying backgrounds of a team contributes to diversity of thought and a deeper understanding of the wider world, as well as our direct environments such as our clients and of the companies in which we invest. This in turn leads to greater insight, more creative thinking, better informed decision-making, and more differentiated and productive investment results.
For investment companies to encourage diversity of thought, we must emphasize the goal of fostering collaboration and diverse thinking on all investment decisions and ultimately eliminating key person risk — the adoption of a co-portfolio manager structure is one solution. Investment processes should deliberately be built around a collaborative team dynamic, as opposed to one centered on any individual, to invite multiple perspectives and ideas that will result in higher quality solutions.
We must all remain committed to celebrating diversity and inclusion and strive to make a change that positively impacts our society. As an industry with immense reach and influence, we must pledge to consistently evolve our own practices, be open to new dialogue and to be leaders of positive change in the world at large.
Tracy Maitland is president and CIO of Advent Capital Management LLC. New York. This content represents the views of the author. It was submitted and edited under Pensions & Investments guidelines, but is not a product of P&I's editorial team.