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Solutions to Increase Diversity in Investment Management

Gabelli100 | Apr 26, 2021 |

Majority women-owned firms manage just one percent of global investable assets, and women comprise just 10% of portfolio managers in the investment management field. Disrupting these numbers was the center of discussion in a Gabelli School Virtual Centennial Speaker Series event sponsored by the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis.

Ellen Carr, portfolio manager and co-author of the book, Undiversified: The Big Gender Short in Investment Management, moderated the session, the last of the three-part series “Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Save Active Investment Management.” The good news, she said, is the growing push from public pension plans, foundations, and endowments to find more diverse investment managers.

Panelists shared practical solutions to achieve greater diversity: relaxing rules—for example, track records. With minimal representation in the field, women can’t support requirements for long-term track records. They also suggested being intentional about ensuring diversity in investment management teams and mandating it in regulation and governance.

“If you’re in the industry on the side of the pension funds, then contract language is key,” said Wendy Garcia, chief diversity officer in the New York City comptroller’s office. It’s where the rules are made and where systemic racism exists. It’s more proliferated space you can create [for] managers [to] give them the capacity to open up doors for women.”

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