This article originally appeared in Private Equity International. For more LP Perspectives articles hand-picked for VCJ readers, click here.
In February, the Institutional Limited Partners Association launched a Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap for the private equity industry, providing access to online resources and best practices for LPs and GPs. Jennifer Choi, managing director of industry affairs, details how the association plans to build on the initiative and explains why data collection is key to driving improvements.
What has been the industry’s reaction to the Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap?
We have received a very positive response to our D&I Roadmap. When we initially launched, we were pleased that the roadmap attracted so much interest from a variety of industry stakeholders, including LPs, GPs and service providers. Since then we have heard from stakeholders across our industry who are hoping to improve and refine their D&I practices, and they have signalled that the roadmap is an excellent starting point for information. We remain interested in submissions to the roadmap and in hearing from those who have found a resource in the roadmap helpful as we look to continue increasing its effectiveness.
How do you expect the roadmap to evolve moving forward?
We expect that as time passes, industry stakeholders will continue to submit resources that will build on the roadmap, increasing its utility and its scope. ILPA will continue to convene the industry and develop resources for the industry in D&I, and with each new initiative ILPA will continue to provide a connection to the roadmap so that it remains a living resource that evolves as the industry evolves. ILPA has also recently made its ESG Roadmap public (which was previously exclusive to ILPA members), as part of an effort to align interested participants who are searching for resources in both spaces.
According to Private Equity International’s LP Perspectives 2021 Study, 13 percent of respondents have refused an opportunity due to poor D&I at the GP-level; are you seeing LPs taking a more stringent approach to D&I?
We have heard from a group of members (LPs) that they have begun taking a more direct approach to D&I. The focus for our members seems to be around transparency and ensuring they have access to information they deem important to their organisation, such as specific metrics on gender and ethnicity at the manager, and how recruitment and retention efforts support broader D&I goals. Members have shared that there is an expectation GPs will improve their D&I efforts over time, with the understanding that, at the time of investment, diversity metrics may fall short or D&I practices may be more nascent.
What progress would you like to see the industry make on D&I in the year ahead?
We would like to see more consistent reporting on D&I metrics. If information is not available, we cannot identify areas where improvement is needed. We hear from stakeholders across the industry that we do not yet have supportive or concrete data on D&I. We should be focusing our attention on collecting information that will lead us to a better understanding of what the industry looks like and how we can improve. This is an area of focus for ILPA as we continue to build out the roadmap and build additional D&I resources.