Institutional investors in the alternative investments industry are driving efforts to improve gender diversity at the funds and portfolios they invest in, KPMG reported Wednesday.
Seventy-five percent of investors in KPMG’s annual women in alternative investments survey said they planned to ask investment teams to report their diversity efforts over the coming year, compared with 60% in last year’s survey.
Thirty-seven percent said they would require disclosure of diversity statistics for all potential investments, up from 16%, and 42% will require firms in their portfolios to improve diversity, up from 11%.
Improvements in diversity at investment firms will start from a dismally low base, for both women and minorities, recent research showed.
“We are at a critical time for women in business, and even in the highly male-dominated alternative investments industry we’re starting to experience progress,” Kelly Rau, audit partner for KPMG’s financial services practice, said in a statement.
“There is still work to be done, but what’s interesting is that the push toward more balance is coming not only from inside the AI organizations, but now from the investor side — and it’s starting to drive action.”
Alternative investment firms appear to be listening. Here are some of the steps they are taking to improve gender diversity:
- Having women in non-investment leadership roles: 62%
- Providing parental and adoption leave: 55%
- Providing flexible work schedules: 49%
- Placing women on the investment committee: 38%
The survey found that big majorities of both women and men in the survey agreed that achieving gender diversity was a business imperative.
On the question of whether their sectors and firms were doing enough to advance women, however, they differed sharply. Sixty-five percent of women said their sector was not doing enough, but only 45% of men agreed.