Congresswoman Maxine Waters Supports 40 Year Anniversary of First Black Asset Management Firm, Continues Calls for Wealth Building Opportunities for Black Communities in Los Angeles and U.S.
In December 2022, then Chairwoman Waters along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office urging the agency to examine the lack of diverse asset manager representation in our nation’s federally managed pension funds.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee joined Ariel Investments, the nation’s first African American-Owned Asset Management, for the firm’s 40-year celebration. Congresswoman Waters joined Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, and others, to celebrate this significant milestone and continue her commitment to support Black asset management firms and efforts to increase and expand wealth-building opportunities for Black communities across Los Angeles County and close the racial-wealth gap.
Investment firms provide a wide array of services, and among them is the management of assets. Investment managers collectively handle trillions in assets, including the investment savings of nearly half of all U.S. households. People saving for retirement, education, or to buy a home often rely on the professional services of asset managers for advice and guidance to help secure their financial future or meet their investing goals.
For years, Congresswoman Waters has sounded the alarm on the lack of diversity in asset management. Congresswoman Waters has also been concerned that despite public racial equity commitments following the murder of George Floyd, the diversity and inclusion of women and people of color working at investment firms did not increase substantially between 2019 and 2020, this includes the general workforce, executive level leadership, and board diversity.
Here are just a few examples of the work she’s been doing to turn the tide:
- Under the leadership of then Chairwoman Waters, while Committee Democrats were in charge, they held hearings on workforce diversity, board diversity, and the need to increase diversity in the asset management segment of the industry.
- Under the leadership of then Chairwoman Waters, the Committee conducted a year-long investigation that was informed by documents and data that the Committee requested from 31 asset management firms. This investigation led to the Committee’s publication of a groundbreaking report entitled, “Diversity and Inclusion: Holding America’s Largest Investment Firms Accountable,” which showed the need for our nation’s investment firms to take immediate action to turn the tide on lack of diversity.
- Some of the findings were stark, showing that on average, firms spent less than 4 percent of their total asset management services are spent on minority asset managers.
- In December 2022, then Chairwoman Waters along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office urging the agency to examine the lack of diverse asset manager representation in our nation’s federally managed pension funds.
Despite the barriers and lack of diversity that persists in this space, Congresswoman Waters is continuing the effort to support Black asset management firms so they can continue to do the work to close the wealth gap and help Black communities manage their finances and build wealth.