Building on efforts to bring about increased diversity, equity, and inclusion across Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Investment Office has adopted a plan to embrace these values in its own practices, in expanding opportunities for students, and across its work in the investment management industry.
The Investment Office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan commits to increasing diversity among the investment staff by looking at current office staffing and pledging a renewed focus on initiatives in the training, hiring, and retention of a diverse team.
“We are encouraged by the gender representation in our office but are cognizant of the opportunity to include and retain other underrepresented groups,” says the office in a letter sent this month to its investment managers.
Incorporating Dartmouth’s undergraduate-education mission into its plan, the office will partner with diverse groups of students early in their College experiences to provide context on the investment industry and career guidance through a new Endowment Fellows Program and a reimagined Investment Office Intern Program.
“We want to be a resource for students who are interested in our work and especially for those who may not be sure about their path into the investment industry,” says Alice Ruth ’83, CEO of the Investment Office. “The entry point to working in this industry is not as wide as it should be. We’d like to help change that.”
Ruth says the investment management industry has low levels of employment of women and other underrepresented groups. As an example, she pointed to a 2019 study by the Knight Foundation, which cites that women and minorities own less than 5% of firms and manage just 1.3% of assets in the $69 trillion asset management industry.
Regarding the endowment portfolio, the office has implemented processes to further the diversity of the investment pipeline. Additionally, the office is engaging with its external investment managers and requesting that they participate in a survey with a plan to aggregate data on the endowment over time, according to Ruth.
“We are tremendously pleased with the early response from our highly valued managers, and we look forward to continued collaboration,” she says.
Dartmouth Trustee Christopher Lord ’86, chair of the Investment Committee, is enthusiastic about the measures the Investment Office is taking, he says.
“The investment industry is clearly underrepresented when it comes to the inclusion of women and minorities throughout its ranks,” says Lord. “I am proud that Dartmouth’s Investment Office is playing a leadership role by taking concrete steps to address industry inequality and further improve the diversity of its staff as well as engaging with Dartmouth students from underrepresented groups to bring about meaningful change.”
Referring to the office’s plan, Ruth says, “We are committing ourselves to constant improvement through learning, listening, and incorporating best practices, and we believe the Dartmouth Investment Office can be a catalyst for positive changes.”
“We will begin with our team and with Dartmouth students. Beyond Hanover, Dartmouth is deeply involved in the investment world; we seek to better understand the diversity characteristics of our portfolio first and hope to observe more inclusion over time. We offer to brainstorm and learn with managers about constructive ways to improve DE&I in the industry together.”
The Investment Office, based in Boston and Hanover, works under the direction of the Investment Committee to manage Dartmouth’s investments, most notably its $6 billion endowment.
Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.