SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wilshire Associates (Wilshire®) announced today the release of its first annual report on diversity and inclusion (D&I). Based upon a survey of more than 500 investment managers, Asset Management Diversity in Action: a Wilshire Report, addresses whether managers believe having diverse and inclusive teams is important and, if so, how they are approaching diversity in their hiring and talent retention programs.
The data reveal a stark disconnect between intention and behavior among asset managers when it comes to D&I. While almost 60 percent of survey participants reported their firms place high importance on diversity, only a small handful have put in place incentives to encourage change. Just 10 percent of firms are incorporating diversity into senior management’s compensation, and only a few firms reward hiring managers based on their ability to attract, retain, support and promote diverse candidates (again 10 percent).
The main motivation behind diversity efforts, however, is clear: managers believe it results in higher quality investment decisions and less groupthink. Again, 60 percent of respondents ranked “improving the quality of investment decisions” as their primary motivation for building diverse investment teams.
When asked about those who are spearheading diversity initiatives within their organizations, 70 percent reported that diversity efforts are led by senior leadership or company boards, showcasing the perception that top-down support for these efforts is critical. More than 50 percent of firms collect diversity statistics, recognizing the importance of tracking and measurement, although the majority of metrics remain focused on gender diversity, rather than broader definitions of diversity including cognitive and demographic diversity.
“Our survey underscores the need to start slow at first by defining what D&I means for a specific firm and then acting decisively to encourage deep-rooted and enduring change,” added Daniel E. Ingram, co-author of Wilshire’s report and Vice President for Responsible Investment Research and Consulting at Wilshire Associates.
Measuring Change, Driving Discussion
Reflecting the firm’s own commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture to stimulate productivity, teamwork and high-quality performance, Wilshire has simultaneously announced its intention to kickstart a new dialogue with investment firms around this topic. Through the integration of several qualitative and quantitative D&I questions in its manager research due diligence questionnaire, the firm seeks to inspire change and develop a more nuanced understanding of diversity approaches and outcomes in the industry.
“The asset management industry in the U.S. has long been homogenous and encouraging a more diverse and inclusive culture is essential,” said Reena Lalji, co-author of Wilshire’s report and Wilshire Associates’ General Counsel and member of the Board of Directors, “We hope to drive awareness and accelerate meaningful conversations about the importance of diversity within asset management. Measuring and reporting on the state of the industry is a critical part of this process. We look forward to engaging the managers in a productive dialogue on this critical topic.”
Wilshire’s new commitment to drive diversity discussions with investment firms follows the launch of its landmark Diverse Owned Manager Initiative in March 2018. That initiative led to the inclusion of at least one diverse-owned firm in every public securities manager search Wilshire conducts for advisory clients, where products are available that fit the client mandate.
About Wilshire Associates
Wilshire Associates, a leading global financial services firm, provides consulting services, analytics solutions and customized investment solutions to plan sponsors, investment managers and financial intermediaries. Its business units include, Wilshire Analytics, Wilshire Consulting, Wilshire Funds Management and Wilshire Private Markets. The firm was founded in 1972, providing revolutionary technology and acting as an early innovator in the application of investment analytics and research to investment managers in the institutional marketplace. Wilshire also is credited with helping to develop the field of quantitative investment analysis that uses mathematical tools to analyze market risks. All other business units evolved from Wilshire’s strong analytics foundation. Wilshire developed the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index and became an early innovator in creating integrated asset/liability analysis/simulation models as well as practical models in risk budgeting through beta and active risk analysis. Wilshire has grown to a firm of approximately 270 employees serving the needs of investors around the world. Based in Santa Monica, California, Wilshire provides services to clients in more than 20 countries representing approximately 500 organizations whose combined assets exceed US $9 trillion.* With ten offices worldwide, Wilshire Associates and its affiliates are dedicated to providing clients with the highest quality products and services. Wilshire® and Wilshire 5000® are registered service marks of Wilshire Associates Incorporated. Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index℠ is a service mark of Wilshire Associates Incorporated.
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*Client assets are as represented by Pensions & Investments (P&I), detailed in P&I’s “Largest Retirement Funds” and P&I’s “Largest Money Managers (U.S. institutional tax-exempt assets)” as of 9/30/17 and 12/31/17, and published 2/5/18 and 5/28/18, respectively. The data in this release are copyrighted and owned by Wilshire Associates Incorporated.