Topic

Diverse Asset Managers

Program Directors

VP/Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
VP/Learning and Impact

The people who handle Knight Foundation’s endowment should reflect the diversity of the communities we support. That guiding principle, along with our core belief in engaged, equitable and inclusive communities, fuels our work to identify and retain diverse-owned asset managers. 

Our 10-year journey and intentional focus in this critical area began when our CEO was asked how much Knight invests with firms owned by women or minorities. When we pinpointed the number, we were disappointed and committed to do better. Today, more than one-third of our endowment is managed by women or minority-owned asset management firms. 

We began commissioning research, recognizing the need to better understand and raise the profile of the important topic.  We continue to share our research to encourage others to be transparent in their endowment management and to use more diverse owned firms and firms that practice diversity in hiring asset managers.

Woman- and minority-owned firms currently manage 39% of the Knight Foundation endowment

Since 2010, Knight Foundation has intentionally sought diversity in the ownership of the asset management firms where it invests. As of December 31, 2019, the foundation had invested $875 million with firms that are substantially- or majority-owned by women or minorities, representing 39 percent of its endowment.


RESEARCH

report

Diversity of Asset Managers in Philanthropy

A study to assess the representation of women and racial or ethnic minorities among investment firms used by the country’s top 50 charitable foundations

 […]

February 12, 2020
Diversity of Asset Managers in Philanthropy
report

Diversifying Investments: A Study of Ownership Diversity and Performance in the Asset Management Industry

Research across a multitude of fields and industries has identified the potential economic and social benefits of diversity. Yet the asset management industry continues to struggle with a lack of diversity. […]

January 28, 2019
Diversifying Investments: A Study of Ownership Diversity and Performance in the Asset Management Industry
report

Diversifying Investments

A study of ownership diversity in the asset management industry

May 3, 2017
Diversifying Investments

REFLECTIONS FROM THE FIELD

article

Aligning investments with our mission: Diversifying Investment Managers

Since its founding in 1940, the staff and trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund have increasingly recognized how our philanthropic efforts have influence beyond just grant dollars. The RBF, therefore, has taken the position that all its activities and resources must be utilized for meaningful progress toward its mission to advance social change, which contributes to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.[…]
Aligning investments with our mission: Diversifying Investment Managers
article

Diversification can generate better returns

Eight years ago, Silicon Valley Community Foundation began examining the diversity of our staff, grantees, board members and our community, prompting us to also look closely at our investment portfolio. We discovered that it clearly lacked diversity. […]
Diversification can generate better returns
article

Investing in Diverse Asset Managers: A Performance Imperative

The investment team at Carnegie Corporation of New York is tasked with maximizing our endowment’s returns so that the grantmaking foundation established by Andrew Carnegie more than 100 years ago can fulfill its mission of doing “real and permanent good in this world.” […]
Investing in Diverse Asset Managers: A Performance Imperative

FURTHER READING

article

Diverse Asset Managers: Opportunities for inclusion

Research shows firms owned by women and minorities manage just 1.3 percent of assets in the $69 trillion asset management industry, though their performance is not statistically different from the industry as a whole, Knight Foundation’s chief financial officer Juan Martinez told the U.S. House Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion. In fact, a […]

June 25, 2019
Diverse Asset Managers: Opportunities for inclusion
article

Op-Ed: Diversity Pays

Women- and minority-owned companies manage more than a third of the Knight Foundation’s endowment. It’s paying off. Several years ago, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation decided to start investing portions of our multi-billion-dollar endowment with firms owned and managed by women […]

June 12, 2019
Op-Ed: Diversity Pays
article

An Intolerance of Failure? Evidence from U.S. Private Equity

In our 2018 Diverse Asset Management Study (found here), we show that the asset management industry is characterized by extremely low levels of diversity in ownership. Overall, diverse-owned managers – defined as asset managers with significant female or ethnic minority ownership […]

June 11, 2019
An Intolerance of Failure? Evidence from U.S. Private Equity