At Annual Bureau of Asset Management Conference, Comptroller Stringer Laid Out Six Major Nation-Leading, Diversity Initiatives and Awarded “Diverse Practitioners”

New initiatives would identify and foster the growth of top-performing emerging managers, including women and minority-owned firms, and expand outreach to veterans with disabilities

(New York, NY) — At the annual Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) “Emerging and MWBE Manager” Conference, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today announced a series of new nation-leading initiatives to encourage greater diversity among investment managers hired by the City’s Pension Funds (the “Systems”). Leading the Comptroller’s announcements was the launch of an initiative to source one or more investment managers across alternative asset classes – private equity, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds, and alternative credit – committed to investing in best-in-class first-time funds and early-stage investment firms managed by emerging managers, including women and minority-owned firms. Through this new initiative, BAM is seeking investment managers to allocate funds with first-time funds and emerging firms, which are often overlooked by large institutional investors due to industry roadblocks – yet can offer superior performance – and set the foundations for them to become the next generation of successful investment managers for the Systems.

“We are constantly building on our Emerging Manager Programs not just because it’s the right thing to do – it has delivered strong results for our beneficiaries. Now we’re taking a bold step forward and staking a new goal in our on-going effort to level the playing field for qualified managers – no matter who they are or who they know,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Ensuring our access to the best investment talent available is part of our fiduciary duty; it promotes competition, diversifies our portfolio and makes our investments stronger. That requires searching for talent in less conventional places, and making sure that industry roadblocks don’t keep our managers from hiring the best. We have a responsibility to allocate our funds wisely – and bringing growing, talented, and diverse investors, including minority and women-owned firms, to manage our portfolio is the right strategy for the future.”

BAM is comprehensively surveying the market in the applicable asset classes to identify all qualified firms for this role and anticipates completing its search by the end of the year. The selected firm or firms are subject to review and approval by each of the five System’s Board of Trustees. Firms with questions regarding this search may contact BAM by emailing leadmanagersearch@comptroller.nyc.gov.

At the conference, Comptroller Stringer made a series of additional announcements regarding the Systems’ diversity initiatives focused on emerging managers, including women and minority-owned firms, a number of which are subject to review by the Board of Trustees, including:

  1. The appointment of Chavon Sutton to the newly created position of Director of Diversity and Inclusion in BAM, dedicated to working with emerging managers interested in doing business with the Systems;
  2. Expanding capital commitments to emerging managers by allocating an additional $500 million to the direct private equity Emerging Manager Program;
  3. Expanding BAM’s consultants’ scope of services to include tracking, monitoring, and identifying emerging managers, including MWBE asset managers;
  4. Establishing a goal to allocate 10 percent to emerging managers across each asset class;
  5. Expanding the asset classes targeted by the ongoing MWBE Broker Dealer program to include high-yield bonds; and,
    • Opening the program up to include firms owned by veterans with disabilities.

These announcements join a series of actions Comptroller Stringer and his fellow pension fund Trustees have to strengthen emerging manager investments and greater diversity among investment managers, including:

  • Increasing the pension systems’ assets committed to minority and women-owned investment managers by over 40 percent since 2014;
  • Becoming the first public pension system in the nation to ask prospective fund managers a set of comprehensive due diligence questions about the diversity, including race and gender, of their investment decision-makers and strength of their diversity policies and practices done;
  • Enhancing manager “graduation” policies in public markets and private equity to facilitate increased allocations to successful emerging managers;
  • Working with investment consultants to proactively identify qualified emerging and diverse managers;
  • Establishing a Diversity Working Group in BAM to pinpoint ways to involve diverse investment staff, asset managers and suppliers in the City’s Pension Funds;
  • Explicitly defining board diversity to include LGBTQ+ community in corporate governance policies;
  • The creation of the Boardroom Accountability Project, a groundbreaking campaign to give shareowners the right to nominate directors at U.S. companies using the corporate ballot, known as “proxy access” and Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0, an additional campaign to shake-up boardroom culture and diversify board directors. Together, these initiatives help to ensure that companies are truly managed for the long-term, with independent, diverse, and accountable directors with transparent appointment processes.

To read about the Comptroller’s Emerging Managers program, click here.

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