Knight Diversity Of Asset Managers Research Series: Higher Education 2024

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Reporting on the degree to which the endowments of the country’s wealthiest private and public colleges and universities are hiring asset management firms owned by women and racial or ethnic minorities


Global Economics Group, Knight Foundation and the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University’s Stern School of Business (NYU CBHR) collaborated to conduct this study and produce this paper. It is a continuation of the 2022 interim paper on the degree to which the endowments of the 25 wealthiest private and 25 wealthiest public higher education institutions hire investment firms owned by women and racial or ethnic minorities (“diverse-owned firms”).

The institutions’ endowments collectively hold $566 billion in total assets, more than two-thirds of the nation’s higher education endowment dollars. In addition to vast financial capital, these endowments support the operations of some of the most socially influential institutions in the country and hold potential to exert influence through their investment decisions.

Participation in the study is voluntary. Of the 50 invited institutions, 18 fully participated in the study by providing their asset manager rosters for independent analysis or by making their rosters publicly available, 8 self-reported their summary statistics, and 24 did not participate at all. Given that slightly more than half of the invited institutions contributed to this study, and only 18 provided full data for independent analysis by Global Economics Group, the study findings are not necessarily representative of the whole.

Notably, six public institutions participated in the study after receiving a public records request from the Knight Foundation’s lawyers.3 As there is no equivalent public records process for private institutions, we consistently reached out to them for participation. Despite these efforts, only two additional private institutions engaged with us beyond the interim paper.

Table A shows the results for the 18 institutions that provided their data for the study or otherwise made their data publicly available. The table is sorted by private/public status and ranked by total assets according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).5 The 18 institutions allocate $129.20 billion in assets under management (“AUM”) to U.S.-based firms that are eligible for analysis in this study (“Analyzed AUM”) as of the fiscal years ending June 30, 2021, to June 30, 2023.6 Of that, they allocate between 0% to 38.5% to diverse-owned firms. Due to limited participation by the 50 invited institutions, we do not include summary statistics in the table below because we do not want a published average to be misconstrued as a benchmark for the field.

Institutions That Provided Asset Manager Rosters

See the full report here.