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Press Release

WTW research shows diverse investment teams outperform

March 7, 2023


MELBOURNE, March 7, 2023 – New analysis released by WTW has revealed that an investment team with a greater level of diversity leads to better investment outcomes. In the company’s new paper, Diversity in the asset management industry: on the right track but at the wrong pace, data shows that investment teams in the top quartile of gender diversity outperform the bottom quartile by 45bps per annum in terms of net excess returns.

The detailed diversity data, collated from over 1,500 investment strategies, has also been broken down by asset class. The findings show equity and credit displaying a gender diversity premium of 46bps and 14bps per annum respectively.

In future years, WTW will provide additional insights into diversity data through the WTW Diversity Index, which will allow an investment strategy to measure and compare its diversity to peers today, as well as its optimal diversity level. This will enable WTW to monitor the diversity premium at an even more granular level over time.

Additional data collated this year from over 400 asset management firms on DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) shows that only 42% of asset managers responding currently have any measurable objectives in their DEI policy, while nearly half (49%) have no targeted initiatives to attract more senior diverse talent.

While the industry has largely focussed on gender and ethnicity to date, two of the largest underrepresented groups in absolute terms, WTW is also encouraging all firms to expand data collection across other inherent and acquired traits of diversity such as disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic diversity and neurodiversity.

The results of WTW’s research furthermore found no meaningful relationship between organisational size and greater diversity across ownership or senior leadership, indicating that while there may be a perception that larger firms are able to appoint specialist resources and implement more DEI policies and initiatives, this does not always translate into increased overall diversity.

Chris Redmond, Head of Manager Research at WTW, said: “There has undoubtedly been progress made on diversity by many asset managers in recent years, but the fact is that the pace of change at an industry level is still slow and disappointing. We are hopeful that the truly extraordinary investment performance benefits linked to superior diversity can serve as a catalyst for acceleration. That is why we believe it is crucial to analyse the data on an ongoing basis to track where we are as an industry and to stimulate conversations. However, it is also important that we look beyond pure numbers to form a robust qualitative view on DEI and culture to really understand how each asset manager is progressing and how quickly it will take to reach their targets.”

Simon James, Head of Manager Research Australia at WTW, said: “The long-term success of DEI requires asset managers, investment consultants and asset owners to collectively commit to change.

“Our research and portfolio management processes now explicitly consider DEI factors. We have leveraged years of DEI thought leadership from the Thinking Ahead Institute and our own research teams to set clear, implementable universal standards for the asset management community.

“Alongside seeking diverse teams, we are committed to engaging with the whole industry and continuing to push some of the largest and longest standing asset managers to improve their DEI credentials. We have also developed a toolkit for asset owners who are committing to their own DEI journey, examining it both within their investment portfolios and at their own organisations.”

The full paper can be accessed here: Diversity in the asset management industry: on the right track but at the wrong pace.

About WTW Investments

WTW’s Investments business is focused on creating financial value for institutional investors through its expertise in risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, fiduciary management and investment manager selection. It has over 900 colleagues worldwide, more than 1,000 investment clients globally, assets under advisory of over US$4.7 trillion and US$187 billion of assets under management.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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