In an interview from Motley Fool Live, recorded on July 13, Daryn Dodson, Managing Director of Illumen Capital, discusses some of the key barriers to equity that exist in the current investing space and how impact investing helps address and breaks down those barriers.
Daryn Dodson: When we look at issues of equity and the fact that most of the planet is women and people of color, and we look at the asset management business, which is 98.7% white men, we see a massive opportunity to invest in people that are clearly overlooked and underestimated within the leadership of the financial services industry and specifically the asset management business, to be able to drive this prosperity and optimality that we hope to see.
In fact, through our research with Stanford University, one of the things that we were able to look at is that we secretly tested 180 asset allocators that manage more than $4 trillion in capital. We tested them to see if they would rate high-performing Black-led funds and high-performing white-led funds with the exact same criteria except the face of the managing director, differently.
What we found is that, as we increase the performance of Black-led funds, the bias increased and less capital and less interest was paid toward high-performing Black-led managers. The higher they performed, the more bias they faced. What we find is that when we combine that research with the 1.3% of women and people of color in the asset management business, we have to ask the question, what’s going on, basically, [laughs] that these high-performing managers would be systematically and consistently overlooked as they outperform.
That could very well be part of the reason why they’re siloed into this very small percentage of the asset management business. If we work with managers, leaders, asset allocators to do the work to reduce their implicit biases that would diminish their clients’ returns and their own returns, there’s a possibility that there would be a massive shift in capital to where it should be optimally in the ecosystem to outperform and help the overall growth of the economy, the global economy, the U.S. economy, etc.