2019 CalPERS & CalSTRS Diversity Forum Brings Investment Leaders Together

2019 CalPERS & CalSTRS Diversity Forum Panel

Leveraging Our Greatest Asset

“People are our most important asset.” We heard that over and again at the 2019 CalPERS & CalSTRS Diversity Forum focused on promoting and advocating for increased diversity and inclusion in the investment industry. Today, there’s a growing body of evidence showing that companies with a strong culture of diversity and inclusion perform better.

The forum drew nearly 400 investment professionals and experts to hear guest speakers and panel discussions about the “why” and “how” of driving diversity and inclusion. The speakers discussed steps to build and maintain a positive corporate culture and the importance of human capital management metrics to investors who can benefit from higher retention rates and heightened levels of creativity and innovation.

Keynote speakers included Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and founder of Ellevest; Brickson Diamond, head of the firm Big Answers LLC; and Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. All three are agents of change who’ve paved the way for many to follow, which is precisely the point of the Diversity Forum: to help lead the way.

Whether an investor is CalPERS’ size or a small 10-person investment firm, the goal is the same: to create an environment where employees feel respected and valued. The resulting sense of belonging and purpose leads to strong performance overall.

And as two of the world’s largest investors from one of the most culturally diverse states in the U.S., CalPERS and CalSTRS are striving to lead the way for diversity and inclusion among investment leaders.

You may wonder how this effort helps our 1.9 million members. It’s our fundamental belief that diversity—and an inclusive culture that promotes diversity—is vital to improving the performance of our own organization, as well as the businesses and asset managers that we invest with.

You can learn more about our CalPERS Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion in our annual Diversity & Inclusion Report.

Did You Know?

  • Companies in the top quartile (25 percent) for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • In the U.S., there is a direct relationship between companies’ racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance.
  • Companies in the top quartile (25 percent) for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies that embrace an inclusive culture where employees feel valued for who they are, and what they bring to the table, see an increase in productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Source: “Why Diversity Matters,” McKinsey, Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince, January 2015