Verus Advisory Inc. has teamed with eVestment LLC to push money managers to disclose more workforce data on gender and ethnic diversity.
The joint initiative will entail eVestment enhancing its questionnaires to request data on diversity at firmwide and investment team levels as well as information on money managers' efforts to increase gender and ethnic diversity within investment and senior leadership roles, according to a news release from Verus, a Seattle-based investment consultant and OCIO firm.
EVestment, an institutional investment data and analytics firm in Atlanta, previously collected diversity data on firm ownership and expects to update its manager questionnaires in time for its year-end data collection process, the news release said.
EVestment should have a representative dataset by the middle of the first quarter, Shelly Heier, Verus president, said in an interview.
Verus is particularly interested in the diversity makeup of investment teams, even more so than at the leadership level, Ms. Heier said. "I'm laser-focused on (investment) teams," Ms. Heier said. "We (care) very much at the product level (about) the people who make investment decisions."
"I know plenty of large asset management firms that may get dinged for ownership-level diversity. They may have an 'N/A' just because of ownership, but they may have a great emerging markets equity team that is very diverse … and we want to be able to see that," she added.
Verus is also asking other investment consultants to urge money managers to provide the enhanced diversity data, Ms. Heier said.
While she doesn't expect the datasets to impact mandate win rates or managers' inclusion in searches "for the foreseeable future," Ms. Heier does believe consultants and institutional investors want to see what firms are doing to improve their diversity and inclusion. "I think asset owners and consultants may bookmark that (data) and track it over time," she added.