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Wealth & Asset Management Industry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Outlook

An AchieveNEXT survey of the wealth and asset management industry reveals a substantial gap between the level of DE&I performance in the industry and leaders’ perceptions of their own enterprises’ progress.

In the survey, conducted in late spring 2021, in conjunction with Kaplan and MMI, more than 60 executives
and advisors in the wealth and asset management industry painted a generally favorable picture of their
firms’ DE&I efforts. For example, most do not believe that a lack of diversity is a barrier to creating a
positive employee experience at their firms, and a large majority say that their firms consistently act to
ensure that all employees feel included and supported.

This confidence is at odds with data on the industry’s record for diversity, equity, and inclusion, which
show that female and minority employees are significantly under-represented in the top ranks. According
to a November 2020 study by the Investment Company Institute and McLagan, women comprise 42%
of the workforce of the asset management industry, but only 25% of senior leadership. Likewise, 31% of
employees are minorities, while just 16% of leadership falls into a minority demographic. While the ICI
study documents progress, as does a similar study of new appointments to directorships in the industry,
it clearly indicates that asset management has a long way to go before it can be said to be diverse,
equitable, and inclusive.

This confidence is at odds with data on the industry’s record for diversity, equity, and inclusion, which
show that female and minority employees are significantly under-represented in the top ranks. According
to a November 2020 study by the Investment Company Institute and McLagan, women comprise 42%
of the workforce of the asset management industry, but only 25% of senior leadership. Likewise, 31% of
employees are minorities, while just 16% of leadership falls into a minority demographic. While the ICI
study documents progress, as does a similar study of new appointments to directorships in the industry,
it clearly indicates that asset management has a long way to go before it can be said to be diverse,
equitable, and inclusive.

The AchieveNEXT study looked closely at what wealth and asset managers say they are doing to create
a supportive, inclusive, and engaging workplace for diverse employees. A sizable majority say they have
solid knowledge of how engaged their employees are. Almost four out of ten (39%) strongly believe they
measure employee engagement accurately, while an additional 33% agree, but not as strongly. Just 10%
have a low opinion of their engagement knowledge.

An even greater number — 89% — assert that their enterprise’s current culture and operations create
a positive employee experience. (Since that number is higher than the number who believe they have
accurate data, one can infer that in some cases this assertion, while it may be true, is unsupported by
documentation.)

<To read the article in its entirety and in its published format, click here https://kaplanpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2021-DEI-Outlook-Brief-Article.pdf>

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search

and board advisory firm headquartered in Philadelphia.   You can reach Alan at

610-642-5644 or alan@KaplanPartners.com.

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