The Continued Pursuit of Equality
|As I reflect on Juneteenth and the two years since the murder of George Floyd, which resulted in the societal reckoning on racial inequality leading to a national dialogue concerning racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As people took to the streets to call for racial justice, hundreds of firms offered statements of solidarity and announced donations to diversity causes and other displays of support. In the continued pursuit of equality, the US Federal government nationally recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday, bringing awareness to the historical date of the emancipation of enslaved black people. In addition to corporate America’s commitment to advance racial justice, we have also witnessed the prevalence of racial and gender glass ceilings shatter within the political sphere. The election of Kamala Harris as the first Black woman Vice President and Kentaji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court indicated progress in the continued pursuit of diversity and equity. Looking specifically at the alternative investments industry, we have begun to see initial signs of progress. At Jensen Partners, we are committed to advancing the discourse on DEI. As part of that commitment, we have launched the Jensen DiversityMetrics™ software platform to tackle diversity challenges in the alternative asset management industry and give asset managers the tools they need to make DEI a core business objective. To better understand where DEI stands within the industry, we have also tracked 207 Black front office distribution professional hires from January 1st, 2019, to the present (June 2022).|
|Progress in Diverse Hiring Activities |
In our analysis, we looked at data of front office distribution professionals before and after May 25, 2020, the day George Floyd was murdered, to measure progress from the outcries of racial justice. We found that there has been notable progress in the overall number of black front office distribution professional hires in terms of Year over Year hiring activity. More specifically, we noted that:
- Between 2019 and 2020, Black distribution professional hires increased by 50% (36 in 2019 vs. 54 in 2020), and Black distribution male hires rose by 76% (21 in 2019 vs. 37 in 2020). On the other hand, Black distribution female hires only saw a 13% increase (15 in 2019 vs. 17 in 2020).
- Between 2020 and 2021, however, we noted a reverse trend, with a 76% increase (30 hires in 2021) in Black distribution female hires compared to a 38% increase (51 hires in 2021) in Black distribution male hires.
While this progress is commendable and validates numerous firms’ commitments to improving DEI by signing on to industry initiatives, such as the Institutional Limited Partners Association’s (ILPA) Diversity in Action initiative and, most recently, the CFA Institute’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Code, our analysis suggests that more action is needed to deliver on these commitments truly.
Male front office distribution professionals represent 62% of all black distribution professional hires and are more likely to hold senior roles than their female counterparts
Between January 2019 and June 2022, of the 207 Black distribution professional hires, women represented only 38% of all hires, compared to 62% of male hires. Similarly, we noted that Black male professionals in distribution are more likely to be hired for both Junior and Senior roles, with a 31% placement rate for both roles. In our analysis, we noted that the majority of the 79 Black female professionals in distribution held Junior positions.
However, an increased number of black female front office distribution professionals are being promoted to senior positions
- Although we noted that Black male distribution professionals are more likely to hold senior positions, our data shows that the number of Black female distribution professionals hired into senior roles has increased over the years. For instance, the hiring of Black distribution females into senior positions increased from 6 hires in 2020 to 10 in 2021, suggesting an upsurge of 67%. This progress is particularly significant, considering that the hiring of black distribution females into senior positions increased by only 20.00% between 2019 and 2020.
Again, although these developments suggest consistency in efforts to create a more inclusive work environment by positioning diversity as an integral part of the hiring process, there remains a need for firms to nurture diversity and inclusion more intentionally if racial and gender equity is to be achieved holistically.
A Long but Promising Road Ahead to Improve DEI
When analyzing Black front office distribution professional hires between 2019 and June 2022, we also looked at Caucasian front office distribution professional hires during the same period. Of the 5,598 Caucasian and Black professional hires, the majority (5,391, or 96%) were Caucasian professionals, whereas only the remaining 4% (or 207) were Black professionals. Our other findings include the following.
Overall, Black front office distribution professionals are less likely to hold a senior seat when compared to their Caucasian counterparts
- Of the 207 Black front office distribution professionals, only 90 (or 2%) hold senior positions, whereas this number is 49% (or 2,736 professionals) for their Caucasian peers.
- Furthermore, of the 90 senior positions Black front office distribution professionals hold, only 26 (or 13%) belong to female professionals, while this number is 16% (or 889 professionals) for their Caucasian counterparts. Similarly, this number is 31% (or 64) for Black male professionals, compared to 34% (or 1,809) for Caucasian male professionals. These findings suggest that in both racial groups, women are less likely to hold senior positions than men.
Since 2019, there has never been a gender parity in firms' hiring activities, with women consistently representing less than 50% of all hires
- Another area of concern is gender balance and the representation of women overall. According to our data, front office distribution women represented 41% of all hires in 2019, which decreased to 35% in 2020. In 2021, there was an uptick of 17%, with women representing nearly 40% of all hires, and so far, in 2022, this number has only nudged up 1%.
In terms of both race and gender, the situation is even more concerning for Black front office distribution female professionals who consistently represent less than 2% of all hires
- In 2019, Black front office distribution female professionals represented just under 2% of all hires compared to 39% for Caucasian females. In 2020, this number decreased for both Black and Caucasian female professionals at 1% and 33%, respectively. In 2021, although there was an uptick of 37%, Black female professionals represented less than 2.0% of all hires at 1%, while their Caucasian peers represented 38%. So far, in 2022, Black female professionals represent about 2% of all hires
However, although these findings suggest that there is room for significant improvement, we are confident that an increasing number of firms will incorporate DEI lens into their hiring activities over the coming months. In fact, with the increased pressure to address inequality and growing demand for DEI-oriented search mandates by lawmakers and investor network groups, such as the PRI, we expect to see an uptick in the diversity numbers in future quarters.
From Acronym to Action
As the data shows, while there has been progressing in diverse hires, there remains a long way to go to achieve true gender and racial equity in the workspace for women and people of color. And in working towards this goal, it is crucial to recognize that racial and gender discrimination and inequity are the context within which much economic activity exists. Focusing only on percentages of women or minorities in the workforce only captures a portion of the DEI landscape and fails at addressing the root causes of the issue at hand. Therefore, firms must think broadly about the impacts of systemic racism and sexism on women and communities of color and ensure that their DEI conversations focus on questions around racial and gender justice.
Here is a selection of recent articles and research studies capturing the focus on increasing the representation of women and other underrepresented groups across the alternative investment industry.
Bloomberg:Silicon Valley Leaves Black Women Behind as it Closes Wage Gaps
Bloomberg: Black Equity on Wall Street Two Years After George Floyd
FundFire: Invesco, BlackRock Alumni Form PE Firm Focused on Diverse Entrepreneurs
Bloomberg:Black Equity on Wall Street Two Years After George Floyd
MarketWatch:‘They have shattered barriers’: On Wall Street, the new biggest privateequity firms are run by Black and Latino billionaires, and people of color.
FundFire: "Diversity in Wells Fargo’s Executive Ranks Improves: Report"
BizJournal: Top Ally Financial exec details how the bank has put diversity initiatives in action
Notable Marketing Hires
Here is a curated selection of black marketing professionals from 2019 to 2022 correlating with the data set above. We spotlight diverse professionals who have joined a new firm in the alternative investment space. At Jensen Partners, we believe representation is power and will continue to highlight these moves to serve as an inspiration and an example of what accurate representation could look like in this industry.
❖ Sasha Nugent was named Head of Investor Relations at Cordet Capital Partners in February 2022. She is in London. Previously, Nugent did Business Development at Hayfin Capital Management for almost three years.
❖ Amon Johnson joined Backcast Partners as Managing Director and Head of Investor Relations in February 2020. Before Backcast, he was a Managing Director at Pinebridge Investments for nearly three years. Johnson is located in New York.
❖ Stephen Usher was poached by Lafayette Square, where he is Managing Director and Head of Distribution as of April 2021. He was previously a partner at Standard General for twelve years. Usher is located in Washington D.C.
❖ Alex Doñé was named Managing Director, Capital Development and Strategic Planning, at Platinum Equity in New York in May 2022 from the New York City Comptroller's Office Bureau of Asset Management.
❖ Erick Bronner transitioned to Managing Director and Investor Relations at Palladium Equity Partners in April 2021. Before Palladium, he was at The Riverside Company as Global Head of Fundraising and Investor Relations.
❖ Andrea Almeida Mack joined Pathway Capital Partners from The TCW Group as Head of Consultant Relations in January 2022. Previously in her role at TCW, she was Managing Director - of Institutional Marketing & Consultant Relations for eight years.
Private Funds Group
❖ Rodney Reid was named Managing Director, Global Head of Private Funds Advisory at Moelis & Co in April 2021. Before Moelis and Company, Reid was Senior Managing Director at Evercore for seven years. He is based in New York.
❖ Damian Taylor joined UBS Private Funds Group New York office as Managing Director and Head of North America Real Estate in January 2022. Previously, Taylor was at Arch Street Capital Advisors as Managing Director for four years.
❖ Maggie Coleman joined Sera Global in October 2020 as Managing Partner, Private Capital Advisory from JLL. She was at JLL for fourteen years and was recently Senior Managing Director, Head of International Capital.
❖ Brenlen Jinkens transitioned to Jefferies Private Capital Advisory from Greenhill & Co. in January 2021. At Jefferies, Jinkens leads the secondary advisory business. While at Greenhill, Jinkins was a managing director for five years.
❖ Killiam Toms was named Partner in March 2021 at Sera Global London Office. Previously Toms was at Landmark Partners for eight years.
❖ Bryan Lubwama joined KKR in May 2021 as Director, Private Wealth Management in Dallas. He was previously at Dimensional Fund Advisors for six years, with his recent role as Vice President, Global Client Group, Institutional Sales.
❖ Henry Odogwu was named Managing Director, Head of United Kingdom Institutional Sales at BlackRock in September 2020. Before BlackRock, Odogwu was at FTSE Russell for four years, most recently as a Managing Director, Head of Sales, Asset Owner and Continental Europe.
❖ Seyi Bucknor joined Fidelity Investments as Head of Consultant Relations from Newton Investment Management in June 2021. During Bucknor's two-year stint at Newton Investment Management, he was named Head of North America. He is based in Massachusetts.
❖ Michael Knowling was named Senior Vice President, Head of Global Client Division in April 2022 at State Street. He is located in Connecticut. Knowling was previously at Prudential Retirement for fourteen years as a Senior Vice President, Head of Client Relations & Business Development.
❖ Thomas Obaseki transitioned to Managing Director, Institutional Client Group at Neuberger Berman from Acadian Asset Management in July 2021. While at Acadian, Obaseki was Senior Vice President of Business Development for three years.
❖ Lisa Bowman joined Seix Investment Advisors as Managing Director of Institutional Sales & Consultant Relations in January 2020. Before Seix, Bowman was at BlackRock as Director, Institutional Client Business, for six years.
❖ Chris Nicholas became a Managing Director, Investor Relations at King Street Capital Management in March 2021. He was previously at York Capital Management as a Managing Director.
❖ Marie-Helene McAndrew was named Deputy Head of Investor Relations at EMSO Asset Management in December. McAndrew is based in New York and previously was at Global Evolution as a Senior Director of Business Development, Institutional Investor Solutions.
Infrastructure /Real Estate/ Real Assets
❖ Carlton Byrd joined American Triple I Partners as Managing Director and Head of Capital Formation & Investor Relations in January 2020. Before joining American Triple I Partners, Byrd was at Actis as a Director of Investor Development Group for three years. He is based in New York.
❖ John Morris joined Blue Water Advisors as Managing Director in January 2022. Previously, Morris was a President for five years at HedgeConsult. Morris is based in New York.
❖ Kenya Williams was named Oaktree Capital Management as Managing Director - Real Estate Product Specialist in April 2021. Previously, she was a Managing Partner a Uncomn Projects for over a year.