Our Approach to Embedding Racial and Gender Equity into Asset Management
By David Bailin, Chief Investment Officer and Global Head of Investments, Citi Global Wealth July 07, 2021 11:00 AM
By many accounts, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, people with lower incomes, and people of color, especially in the US. Simultaneously, increasing calls for racial justice reminds us that there is much more work to be done to address longstanding racial bias and inequity. At Citi, we are committed to using our core business capabilities and being a part of the solution to address systemic barriers.
Citi and the Citi Foundation recently announced progress toward our Action for Racial Equity, a comprehensive effort that encompasses more than $1 billion in strategic initiatives designed to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the U.S. As part of its racial equity goals, Citi is proactively taking a hard look at its own policies and practices to help level the playing field for communities of color. To further this goal, Citi Global Wealth and its global investments team has planned a series of actions to embed racial equity in asset management. Our investments team will hold us accountable regarding our own hiring and talent development. We will also consider the diversity and inclusion profile of third-party managers as a part of our onboarding process. While we are evaluating what diversity means globally, the Citi Global Wealth Investments team (CGWI) is developing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens as part of all new manager selections and existing manager monitoring in the United States. We will review managers of third-party funds included in our platform on a periodic basis and assess their diversity, equity and inclusion characteristics as to whether their firm’s policies and practices are consistent with evolving industry standards that provide more opportunities for women and traditionally underrepresented minorities in asset management. Investing in diverse, high-performing asset managers is invaluable, and we will ensure consistency with our fiduciary responsibility to clients. In fact, at Citi, the global diversity and talent of our leadership, colleagues, clients, and communities is one of our greatest assets as an institution.
CGWI also will increase the number of diverse-owned third-party asset managers and managers investing in diverse-owned businesses available to Citi clients. Our goal is to onboard 5-15 diverse fund managers to our platform and anticipate that more than $200MM of client capital will be invested into these funds by the end of 2023. By identifying and onboarding diverse managers and those investing in companies managed by diverse owners, we can help close the racial and gender wealth gap in the industry. Collectively, these new actions reflect our values and commitment to do our part.
Concurrently, CGWI will work to make its own workforce more diverse and inclusive by adding resources and enhancing our talent development practices that expand opportunities for professional growth. It is important that our business and leadership becomes the example for attracting and nurturing diverse, ‘best-in-class’ talent and standards in the asset management industry.
Promoting greater inclusion in asset management requires leveraging our corporate voice and influence to bring about systemic changes that benefit the industry, without compromising standards. CGWI will engage industry trade associations and database providers to improve the accessibility of data about diverse-owned and managed third-party asset managers to help these companies gain exposure and scale. We will use our industry leadership to speak out about the need to look at newer and smaller managers to advance our gender and racial equity objectives.
No one change will overcome all systemic bias. Yet, we believe by enhancing our own internal and external practices, actively championing the inclusion of diverse third-party managers and investments, as well as leading by voice and example, we can do our part to foster meaningful and sustainable change.