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Study: Diverse-Owned Fund Firms’ Assets Remain Modest Despite Solid Performance

In a new study reported on by Institutional Investor, a Harvard Business School professor and Bella Research Group analyze the diversity of ownership of asset management firms as well as performance differences between diverse-owned and non-diverse owned asset managers. The study’s authors challenge the common belief that poor performance among diverse-owned firms preclude their receipt of greater investment. “An important finding of the research is that there is no statistical difference in performance between diverse-owned firms and their peers. Even when we adjust for risk in mutual funds and hedge funds and compare to public market returns for private equity funds, we do not find consistent differences in results.”  The research identified 136 women-owned and 120 minority-owned firms as of 2017, managing 638 and 467 mutual funds, respectively. Numbers of women- and minority-owned mutual funds represent just 5.5 percent and 3.9 percent of all mutual funds, respectively, the report said. The research used eVestment data from 2011-2017 and found no evidence that women or minority ownership affects the returns of U.S. mutual funds. The research also found that diverse-owned funds tend to attract assets mainly from public funds, foundations, endowments, high net worth individuals and family offices (compared with non-diverse funds), while investments from corporate clients and sub-advised funds make up a larger proportion of the AUM with non-diverse funds.