Meeting the Challenges of Diversity and Inclusion


Most of us would say that we respect those who come from different backgrounds — but do we truly value difference? Research has shown that diverse work environments lead to better results, but it has also shown that the investment profession is far from employing a diverse workforce.

Fewer than 20% of the holders of the CFA® designation are women. And investment firms owned by women and minorities manage only 1.1% of the industry’s $71.4 trillion in assets, according to a May 2017 study commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Bella Research Group.

Additionally, minority-owned and women-owned (MWO) asset managers face institutional investor and investment adviser bias; in September 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that MWO firms regularly face unsubstantiated perceptions of weaker performance.

The main challenge lies not in diagnosing the diversity issue, but in addressing it.

This September, CFA Society San Francisco and the CFA Institute Women in Investment Management Initiative will convene Diversity and Inclusion 2018: Strategies for Success, an event designed to continue discussions around hiring and promoting employees based on skill and experience, as well as helping individuals move ahead in their careers and find ways to network with others. At the conference:

  • Michele Norris — former host of NPR’s All Things Considered and current director of Aspen Institute’s new program on race, identity, connectivity, and inclusion — will discuss “Bridging the Divide.”
  • Shazia Syed, CEO and chairperson of Unilever Pakistan, will talk about her experience as a woman leading a large corporation in the Middle East and overcoming obstacles to success.
  • Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, executive director at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, will discuss barriers to inclusion and workplace culture issues.
  • A session will provide views from the C-Suite, as Jennifer Johnson, president and COO of Franklin Resources, Inc.; Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer of CalSTRS; and Lynn Blake, CFA, CIO of global equity solutions at State Street Global Advisors discuss their work cultivating diversity as a part of company culture.
  • Skill building workshops led by Fran Skinner, CFA, Jared Redick, and Patrice Merrin will look at achieving success by leveraging relationships, reverse-engineering long-term career goals, and the path to the C-suite and board room.

Additional sessions will discuss deepening connections with female clients and working with entrepreneurs as private wealth clients. Hear about these topics and more at Diversity and Inclusion 2018: Strategies for Success, taking place 20–21 September in San Francisco.

All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: Getty Images

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