Consultants, Endowments/Foundations, ESG/SRI, Institutional Investors, Pension Funds, Public Funds, Uncategorized

Cambridge Hires Diversity Manager To Boost Women and Minority Manager Offerings

Cambridge Associates has hired Jasmine Richards as senior investment director, manager diversity, based in the firm’s Boston headquarters. Richards joined the consultancy to lead its ongoing initiatives to identify and research institutional investment managers in all public and private asset classes that have diverse owners or leaders, including women and people of color. The goal is to increase the number of women- and minority-owned managers that Cambridge tracks and assess for clients’ portfolios. Richards reports to Ashby Hatch, head of public equities research, in her new role.

Jasmine Richards, senior investment director, manager diversity, Cambridge Associates

“Cambridge Associates has a large client base that is interested in increasing diversity in their portfolios, and our vision is to increase the number and breadth of diverse managers in our network and client portfolios,” said Richards. “This not only includes researching and funding active strategies, but also serving as a resource to support the pipeline of talent,” she said. Cambridge currently tracks over 300 minority- and women-owned managers and 750 strategies that fall into the minority- and women-owned category – and is looking to build upon that base.

Previously, Richards worked at investment manager FIS Group, where she was international equity manager and research analyst, responsible for identifying and managing investment strategies, with an emphasis on diverse-owned asset managers. The position of senior investment director, manager diversity, is a newly created position at Cambridge.

Richards will be responsible for sourcing new investment ideas, developing opinions on diverse managers and their strategies, and communicating those opinions throughout the firm and with external audiences. “Additionally, I will collaborate with and join investment teams where the client has a specific interest in increasing the number of diverse-owned managers in their portfolio, and provide colleagues with research and analysis on a regular basis,” she said.

What excited Richards most about her new position is that “at Cambridge Associates, we have an opportunity to increase our exposure in the space and lead the charge for our industry.” The consultant currently partners with diversity-driven organizations for events and talent acquisition, including the Toigo Foundation, the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM), the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Girls Who Invest.

“My goal is to increase both the breadth and the depth of our relationships with diverse managers across the market through attending industry events and forums, engaging organizations which are furthering this initiative for minority groups in the industry, meeting managers regularly, and deeply ingraining myself in the space to ensure I have the fullest picture,” Richards said.

“Across both public and private markets, I currently see tremendous opportunities for diverse managers, however, where those opportunities lie has shifted over the last five to ten years,” said Richards. “As a method to maximize returns and mitigate risks, institutional investors are increasingly demanding more diversity in their asset allocation strategies. It is also a way for institutions to align their values and missions with their investment portfolios. On the private side, while still not at ideal levels, the pipeline of women- and minority-led funds has seen a sharp increase in recent years,” Richards said.

“There also has been growth in private strategies: specifically, investing exclusively in women- and minority-led companies. On the public side, institutional assets have significantly shifted from the US to international markets for a confluence of reasons. Given that a disproportionate amount of diverse managers within public markets were domestically focused, this has adversely affected AUM (assets under management) levels and profitability, but it also creates a large opportunity for new strategies and firm formations,” she said.

Previously, Richards worked in manager research, sales and client management roles at several firms, including Oppenheimer Asset Management and State Street Global Advisors. She studied mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She also studied emerging markets public and private equity at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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