Hedge Fund Managers, Prepare to Answer These Questions on Diversity

A peek inside consultant Albourne Partners’ new queries for alternatives firms.

Illustration by II

Illustration by II

The Alternative Investment Management Association and consulting firm Albourne Partners on Monday published a new questionnaire to interrogate asset managers on diversity and inclusion issues.

The questionnaire was developed to “increase transparency around the alternative industry’s efforts in embracing D&I,” the two groups said in a statement Monday. “The motivation to adopt D&I best practices is becoming widely accepted; the practical aspects of this, however, remain a work in progress.”

Managers who respond to the questionnaire will be asked whether or not they have a formal diversity and inclusion policy and what that policy entails, as well as questions about the demographic makeup of their staff, leadership, and ownership.

Other questions include:

  • Does the firm have policies or practices in place to ensure that equal pay is provided for equal performance in equivalent roles regardless of gender and minority categorization?
  • Does the firm have a formal mentorship, sponsorship, or employer affinity program for women and/or minorities?
  • Does the firm have a family leave or parental leave policy?
  • Have there been any claims of sexual or general harassment, misconduct or discrimination against any current or former firm employees (while employed by the firm) within the last 5 years?

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“There is a huge interest across the industry in how to improve the representation of women and minority groups,” AIMA managing director Adam Jacobs-Dean said in a statement. “We acknowledge that for smaller firms it might be difficult to know where to start.” The questionnaire, he added, was developed with the intention of helping firms of all sizes address diversity and inclusion issues.

The questionnaire will be voluntary for managers evaluated by Albourne, according to an email from portfolio analyst Tathata Lohachitkul. “Albourne is not assigning a D&I rating to managers at this time,” she said. “We are currently focused on providing clients with transparency into manager D&I metrics, policies and practices to enable clients to make informed decisions relating to D&I matters.”

However, responses to the questionnaire involving regulatory or legal risk factors may be factored into the consultant’s operational due diligence. “These can include matters relating to statutory or regulatory pay equity obligations and anti-harassment policies and practices,” Lohachitkul said.

According to Monday’s announcement, Albourne views its role as a collector of diversity and inclusion information and validator of asset managers’ policies. By incorporating the diversity and inclusion questionnaire into Albourne’s due diligence process, Lohachitkul said, the firm aims to serve “as a catalyst for managers to reflect and improve upon their D&I policies and practices.”

The questionnaire will be available for any managers that report to Albourne via the consultant’s manager portal. AIMA members can also download the questionnaire from the industry group’s website.