Equitable Access to Capital Markets

The Equitable Access to Capital Markets team is conducting field work to advance the access, growth, and success of minority-led and women-led financial services firms, including a survey of current initiatives, a stakeholder convening, and recommendations for moving the needle to create access.

The concept of capitalism presumes perfect information and equal opportunity. The reality of capital markets is that information and opportunities are distributed unevenly. ”Free market” absolutism has left behind millions of Americans over the past 10 years and created prosperity for a small number of Americans. At the Beeck Center, we identify opportunities that help shrink the racial and gender wealth gaps through more equitable access to capital markets.

A 2019 study sponsored by Knight Foundation found that asset management firms owned by women and people of color manage only 1.3 percent of the $70 trillion investment management industry despite demonstrating performance on par with if not better than majority firms. The most recent refresh of McKinsey’s diversity research continues to demonstrate the benefits of diversity — gender, racial and ethnic — at the executive level on business performance. Given the evidence that should prompt investors to expand manager diversity, these firms continue to struggle to make significant progress in gaining a larger share of the industry. 

We believe an intentional and inclusive approach to manager selection adds value to the industry, markets, and society as a whole. Expanding access only deepens the bench of quality managers and strengthens the industry by adding different insights and perspectives on underserved and overlooked markets, sustains entrepreneurial business growth, builds wealth to move the needle on the racial and gender wealth gaps, and generates a diverse leadership pipeline for foundation and corporate boards.

We are grateful for the generous support of Surdna Foundation, the seed funder of this work.

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