March 8 2019

EMPEA announces gender initiatives aimed at measuring and improving gender equality within the private capital industry

Washington DC, March 8 2019:

EMPEA, the global industry association for private capital in emerging markets, today announced its 2019 gender initiatives in conjunction with International Women’s Day. The initiatives will be led by the Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group of the EMPEA ESG Community. The Working Group is comprised of investment practitioners from EMPEA member firms who are committed to improving the representation of women within the emerging markets private capital industry (inclusive of private equity, private credit, and infrastructure and real assets strategies).

According to ground-breaking research released this week by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, in a report titled Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital, private equity and venture capital funds with gender-balanced senior investment teams generated 10 percent to 20 percent higher returns compared with funds that have a majority of male or female leaders. The study, which also analyzed companies receiving private equity and venture capital funding, found that portfolio companies with gender-diverse leadership teams also outperformed their less diverse peers by up to 25 percent.

“The IFC research, released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, moves the case for diversity within private equity and venture capital firms forward significantly by drawing an empirical link between gender balance in senior investment teams and returns,” said Laura Kemp-Pedersen, Co-Head of the EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group and Chief Marketing Officer at LeapFrog Investments. “By making diversity a business imperative, the role of private capital in emerging markets can be significantly accelerated to the benefit of investors, investees, and specifically women-led companies. The EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group is committed to playing a key role in highlighting the benefits of a gender-diverse industry and in creating tools to support member firms in their journey towards increased diversity.”

Preqin’s 2017 special report Women in Alternative Assets finds that private equity has the lowest percentage of female employees at 17.9 percent. Similarly, in private equity firms surveyed for KPMG’s 2019 Women in Alternative Investments Report, women represent only 7 percent and 13 percent of CEO- and CIO/PM-level leadership, respectively.

According to Jim Seymour, Co-Head of the EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group and Managing Partner of Pontefract Global Strategies, “The impact of women in the development and growth of emerging markets companies and economies is well recognized. It is important, therefore, that private capital investors and investment managers recruit, support, and promote more women into senior investment management positions to better position their firms for successful investments in those markets. The EMPEA Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group will provide tools to assist those firms in doing so.”

EMPEA’s 2019 gender initiatives will focus on three key areas: 1) researching and reporting on the state of gender representation within fund managers; 2) developing a toolkit to assist fund managers with key challenges identified by the research; and, 3) introducing an awards program to recognize fund managers making significant progress towards improving gender representation at the firm and portfolio levels.

• The 2019 State of the Industry Survey on Gender in Emerging Markets Private Capital will canvass EMPEA’s network of private capital firms, including its 150+ fund manager members, on gender progress within their firms and investment portfolios. The research will both enable the measurement of progress in key areas over time and identify key challenges.

• The EMPEA Gender Progress Awards will seek to recognize fund managers who have achieved outstanding progress in their efforts towards gender parity. An independent panel of emerging markets private capital industry leaders will be appointed to select finalists. Both the judging panel and details of the awards will be announced during the IFC’s 21st annual Global Private Equity Conference in association with EMPEA (GPEC) to be held in Washington 14-15 May 2019.

• Key issues and trends identified through the 2019 survey will inform the content of the Gender in Emerging Markets Private Capital Toolkit, which will be developed to support fund managers in their efforts to increase gender representation within their firms.

The report, award program, and first stage of the toolkit will be launched during EMPEA’s October 2019 Sustainable Investing in Emerging Markets summit.

Kyoko Terada, Managing Director at EMPEA and head of Membership and Industry Partners, remarked, “EMPEA members manage more than USD5 trillion in assets across 130 countries; consequently, our community is poised to play a critical role in directing global change in the industry. We are encouraged by the studies that reveal having more women in decision-marking positions leads to higher returns. We look forward to adding to the body of research supporting gender parity and providing the type of data that can drive decision-making within firms.”

EMPEA will lead a collaborative effort across the emerging market private equity industry to address the issue of gender parity and engage members in action-oriented initiatives to address inequality.


About the Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group

The Gender Parity Acceleration Working Group was launched at the Global Private Equity Conference in May 2018 and is EMPEA’s first industry initiative aimed at addressing the gender gap in the emerging markets private capital industry. The Working Group plans to leverage the knowledge and experience of the EMPEA membership and lead a collaborative effort to identify the next steps to achieve gender parity.

About the EMPEA ESG Community

The EMPEA ESG Community is open to all individuals at EMPEA member firms who have an active interest in ESG in the emerging markets space. This Community provides a platform to share resources and advice for EMPEA members considering how to build and/or expand their ESG management strategy and offers practitioners and experts a forum to advance the development of ESG best practices through information exchange, research, and the aggregation and development of innovative resources.