Money managers are creating new senior executive positions within their organizations to lead their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Such efforts come as the industry overall has struggled to create a diverse workforce — not only when it comes to women and ethnic minorities, but also LGBTQ, veterans, the disabled and caregivers. Such shortcomings were spotlighted over the last year during the coronavirus pandemic and a push for racial equity after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Having a top-level diversity chief who reports directly to the CEO, rather than being siloed in human resources, is expected to bring greater urgency and accountability to firms' efforts, sources said.
"The world is waking up to the fact that 'I' and 'D' can't just be a side-desk topic anymore for the dedicated few across the firm, but it needs to have a dedicated role to look at all aspects of diversity if we (are) going to see a shift in the numbers," said Lindsay Hudson, head of inclusion and diversity at Aegon Asset Management in London.
Ms. Hudson took on the role in January.
Other managers, too, are taking steps. So far this year, P&I reported on eight managers appointing senior DEI officials, five of which were newly created positions, vs. one hire in 2020, and one in 2019.
Results from a survey on diversity released by the Investment Company Institute and Aon PLC subsidiary McLagan show how much work still needs to be done to improve DEI in the industry.
Women represented 41.8% of the money management industry's workforce as of Nov. 1, while minorities made up 30.5%. And when it comes to senior leaders, things become even less diverse, revealing that most money management executives are white (83.7%) and male (74.6%).
"DEI is relatively new to the asset management world and there's so much work to do and it's so nice that organizations are taking an interest," said Indhira Arrington, New York-based managing director and global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Ares Management, who took on the role at the alternatives firm in January. "When you think about asset management, it's one of the last frontiers of DEI."