Cutting‑Edge Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in the PE Industry Gain Momentum With Support From LPs and GPs

As environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have moved to the forefront of investors’ minds, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have gained traction among PE sponsors and their portfolio companies. There are hurdles to be cleared and opportunities to seize, but GPs are constantly brainstorming new ways to target DEI issues and to make headway in nonintuitive ways (e.g., life and health insurance mandates). Reed Smith recently hosted a virtual roundtable with panelists representing both LPs and GPs on key DEI issues in the PE industry. The program featured Susanne Forsingdal, managing director at Allianz Capital Partners; Elizabeth Govea, investment officer at Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund; Judy Cotte, managing director, head of ESG and compliance at Onex; Sherrese Clarke Soares, founder and CEO of HarbourView Equity Partners; Marcella McColl, partner and CFO/CCO at Fin Capital; Spencer Tyson, head of investment ratings at Revere; and Christian Hoyos, vice president at Eurazeo. This article summarizes the key takeaways from the discussion, including LPs’ perspectives on issues in the PE industry and how they can be targeted; anecdotes from several GPs about how they are addressing DEI in their respective firms and portfolios; and insights on DEI considerations at third-party advisors. See our two-part series on the Institutional Limited Partners Association’s ESG resources: “Assessment Framework Utility Depends on Stage of LPs’ and GPs’ ESG Programs” (Oct. 12, 2021); and “Iterative Roadmap Can Help LPs in Early Integration Stages” (Oct. 19, 2021).

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