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Consulting Firms Are Overwhelmingly White, Data Show

Sixteen consulting firms shared diversity data with the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative.

Employees and owners of investment management consulting firms are overwhelmingly white, new data from the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative show.  

Limited partners and industry groups are paying increased attention to the diversity of employees and leadership at the consulting firms they work with, DAMI said in a report, expected to be released Thursday. The group’s survey found that, on average, about 73 percent of consulting firms’ employees are white and so are 80 percent of their owners and partners.

This is an improvement in racial diversity compared to DAMI’s 2018 survey that Institutional Investor covered that year. Just 11 consultants responded to that probe, which found about 77 percent of employees were white along with about 85 percent of the firms’ owners.

Crewcial Partners was the most racially diverse in this year’s survey, which drew responses from 16 consulting firms. About 26 percent of Crewcial’s employees are Black, 12 percent are Asian, Hawaiian, or from the Pacific Islands, 16 percent are Latino or Hispanic, 1 percent are Indigenous, and 45 percent are white.   

Meanwhile, RVK reported that 84 percent of its employees are white, while AndCo Consulting said that 87 percent of the firm’s employees are white, according to DAMI’s survey. DAMI is a group of financial-services professionals, institutional investors, board members and trade associations that seeks to raise awareness about the benefits and opportunities of investing with diverse asset managers.

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The group’s survey included gender diversity questions. An average 23 percent of consulting firm owners and partners are women, compared to 38 percent of senior managers, DAMI found.

Just eight of the firms that responded to the survey have written policies to interview women and minorities for employment.   

“While one doesn’t need a written policy to practice diverse hiring, we consider it a marker,” DAMI said in the report.

According to the survey, just three responding firms — Crewcial, Marquette Associates, and NEPC — track the managers that reach out to them. “An indifference to tracking makes it tough to assertively fill your pipeline with diverse managers who are available to make their case for inclusion,” DAMI said.   

This is the third year that DAMI has surveyed consultants on diversity. According to the report, this year was the first that the group worked with limited partners and trade associations to encourage consultants who had ignored the survey to respond.   

DAMI said that the survey had an over 50 percent response rate, with 16 of the 30 consulting firms it focused on responding. DAMI called this “groundbreaking.”  

The group pointed out that in 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Diversity Assessment Report had a response rate of five percent. This is the latest information from the SEC, which had asked firms it regulates to respond to the survey.    

As for the consultants that did not respond to DAMI’s survey, the group said it had no reason to believe they did so in order to conceal demographic diversity that is below average.

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