Knight Diversity of Asset Managers Research Series: Higher Education, Interim Release

June 2022
Women and people of color manage only 1.4% of U.S.-based AUM. The first step to equity is transparency.

In partnership with Knight Foundation and Global Economics Group, the Center for Business and Human Rights is examining the degree to which the endowments of the country’s wealthiest colleges and universities are hiring asset management firms owned by women and racial or ethnic minorities. This report is an interim release of our findings to date.

Universities and colleges hold power to influence social change

Higher education institutions with large endowments have an opportunity to be leaders in promoting equity in the asset management industry. The country’s wealthiest 25 public and 25 private university and college endowments collectively hold $587 billion in assets. These schools have a significant impact on our economy and culture. Their choice of asset management firms can provide important job opportunities for their graduates, and it is a natural fit for schools to invest with firms whose teams are representative of their students and alumni.

Limited data is a barrier to achieving racial and gender equity

Of the 50 institutions invited to provide data for this study, only 12 fully participated. Without reliable, detailed data, we can’t fully assess how well universities and colleges are tapping into underutilized but high-performing talent that can help them achieve their investment goals. While sharing best practices for identifying and hiring high-performing diverse-owned firms is part of the solution, we cannot measure progress towards equity and inclusion without a better understanding of the current use of diverse-owned firms.

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