Some money managers have spoken of the need to bolster diversity, equity and inclusion in their ranks, especially in recent years, but some stakeholders say change will take more than words and are pushing regulators in Washington to improve industry transparency.
The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 and 2020 asked its regulated entities, including money managers, to voluntarily disclose their diversity policies, practices and workforce data. And although more firms responded to the "diversity assessment report" in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's murder, the SEC still only garnered a 13.5% response rate from the roughly 1,300 regulated entities that received the survey, up from 5% in 2018, according to SEC data.
"It's hard to imagine a more damning statistic to demonstrate that neither the agency, nor the entities that they regulate, take this seriously," said Robert Raben, Washington-based executive director and founder of the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative, a consortium of financial services professionals, institutional investors, corporate and philanthropic board members and trade associations that aims to boost the number of diverse-owned asset management firms and increase their assets under management.
After he met virtually with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler in December, Mr. Raben sent a letter with recommendations for Mr. Gensler to consider, including that as SEC chairman he will not meet with any SEC-registered entity that has not responded to the agency's diversity assessment report.