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Friday, May 14, 2021

D&I Leaders Call For Resources, Not Just Initiatives

Reported by Andrew Lusk

Senior fundsters from two big assets managers offered a glimpse yesterday of where the industry is going in terms of diversity and inclusion efforts.

Seema Hingorani
Morgan Stanley Investment Management
Managing Director
Cristina Santos, senior vice president and head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Capital Group, spoke with Seema Hingorani, managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The duo teamed up for A Shared Goal: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Asset Management Industry, a session on day two of the 2021 online Investment Company Institute General Membership Meeting (ICI GMM).

"Around 2013 or 2014, [while working as New York City's chief investment officer], I was shocked every time I got to any asset manager's organizational chart in their presentation," says Hingorani, who is also the founder and chair of Girls Who Invest, a nonprofit group centered around increasing women's presence in portfolio management and executive leadership. "I'd look at these charts and then say to them, 'Where are all the women on your investment team?'"

Girls Who Invest is working on an initiative called "30 By 30," which aims to make 30 percent of the world's investable capital women-managed by 2030.

"We [want to] start young, go to high schools and colleges," Hingorani adds, "and build this massive pipeline of amazingly talented young women we will train, mentor, educate, prepare, and guide. We want to send them off into the industry and never let them feel alone, so they can become more senior, change more of the cultures, and also manage more of the money."

Hingorani explains that Girls Who Invest was born from a pitch she made in a 2014 Bloomberg op-ed, which she says generated lots of feedback from industry insiders encouraging her to make the dream a reality.

"I started [Girls Who Invest] with a ten-page business plan and a board back in 2015, and I made everything up along the way, as entrepreneurs do! So far so good."

Later in the session, Santos says, "One of the things that struck me as I came on board at Capital Group is that, with everything that happened last year from the racial reckoning perspective, there's really this sense of urgency and introspection across all organizations and industries [around diversity and inclusion]."

She continues, "[People now ask], 'How do we make sure that we are not only as diverse as possible, but also really inclusive?'"

At Capital Group, Santos adds, the team adopted a "co-creation, collaborative model" in the hopes of reevaluating various aspects of D&I work. This includes anti-racist educational curriculae, as well as the establishment of employee resource groups catered to workers' specific community needs. She says any size company "can leverage" this model in structuring diversity initiatives.

Hingorani says, "Companies can't just announce initiatives, but must put resources behind them." 

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