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Opening up a world of returns through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)




Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

*Source: The Knight Foundation. As of January 2019 | Ownership defined as 50% of equity or more; minorities defined as Hispanic, Black, Asian and Native American.



  • Finding new sources of performance
  • Diversifying risk/return drivers in portfolios
  • Identifying and accessing new managers
  • Due diligence checks and monitoring performance
  • Allocating the time, resources and expertise to expedite the change
  • Accelerate the financial sector transformation to offer opportunities for all

DEI has become a vital consideration for investors who are increasingly aiming to align their portfolios with their values. At the same time, evidence is mounting to show how considering a range of views, backgrounds and experience can help achieve long-term sustainable returns, as well as stay in line with the direction in which business is heading. Research shows that about a third of women-owned and minority-owned private equity firms are top quartile performers among private equity firms overall.*

How we’re investigating additional return sources: the diverse manager market 

Discover our DEI “Leap continuum”

We are committed to uncovering new and pioneering investment opportunities for our clients. We have identified the diverse manager market as such an opportunity.

Inspired by the concept of overcoming obstacles, we call our full range of research, advice and investment solutions - including a new private markets solution - the “Leap continuum.” It enables investor clients to not only explore additional return sources, but also accelerate the amount of capital being allocated to more diverse private markets investment managers.


Through the Leap continuum, our clients can combine economics with empathy and seek robust returns while making progress toward DEI goals. The deep expertise of our investments business backed by our wide-ranging specialist experience in DEI consulting differentiate us. We regularly assist clients with proactively improving DEI within their organizations, as we believe in the power of diverse teams to drive success.

Our Leap continuum aims to accelerate DEI within private markets 

Private markets research

Private markets research

  • Research on historically underrepresented investment managers, where the KDMs* are women, BIPOC**, LGBTQ+, US veterans and persons with disabilities
  • Delivered digitally through MercerInsight on a subscription basis or as part of an advisory mandate

Private markets advice

Private markets advice

  • DEI program review of existing portfolio
  • DEI investment policy review and development
  • DEI investment pipeline and forward calendar
  • DEI sourcing, screening and due diligence
  • Delivered on a standalone basis or as part of a broader mandate

Private markets solutions

Private markets solutions

  • Partially or fully delegated private markets DEI investment solutions
  • Delivered through multi-client solutions or bespoke structures, depending on the client's preference



Our recent white paper explores ways to design, action and implement an approach that embraces DEI across private markets. It elevates investment possibilities by shining a light on groups that may have been historically underrepresented in investments. Discover all our intellectual capital on how we believe we can help transform asset management, one individual at a time, on our “Power of change” page.

View the client issues we aim to solve with the Leap continuum 

  • “We want to capture opportunities quickly.”


    The market is moving toward DEI in portfolios. Investors have an opportunity to embrace this shift, and our Leap continuum of research, advice and solutions can help clients achieve this goal, in-line with their unique governance model and investment objectives. 

  • “We’re looking for strong, risk-adjusted returns.”


    Through the Leap continuum, we identify diverse managers at different stages of development, including emerging managers (firms raising their first fund), growth-stage managers (firms raising funds two through three) and established managers. We believe building a balanced portfolio across diverse firms across these stages of development has the potential to create a more diversified portfolio that can generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. 

  • “We don’t know which manager to select.”


    Manager selection is the critical component in managing a portfolio. But with hundreds of diverse managers in the market today, making a choice can be overwhelming. Our rigorous manager research and due diligence process seeks to identify those managers that we have a high degree of confidence will outperform in the next market cycle. 

  • “We want to align our investments with our values.”


    Through the Leap continuum, we can help clients to identify quality managers and, at the same time, further their DEI goals. 

  • “We need to put a diversity plan in place, and we need a roadmap.”


    CIOs and investment teams must show key stakeholders — such as corporate boards, CHROs and investment trustees — that they’re proactive. They need to have a plan in place before their stakeholders compel them to act.

    Being proactive makes CIOs and investment teams look good; it shows they’re taking action to address stakeholder priorities.

How we're seeking robust returns while making positive progress toward DEI goals

As part of Leap, we seek to deliver investment results for our clients while making a brighter tomorrow possible.

Through our Leap private markets solutions, we seek to identify private markets managers led by women, BIPOC and other historically under-represented groups, including LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities and U.S. veterans. We draw on Mercer’s 190+ global alternatives professionals and independent investment diligence and selection process.

We aim to:

  • Generate strong investment returns for our clients.
  • Support the advancement of historically underrepresented groups in investments.
  • Enable clients to invest in private markets funds that are owned or led by women and minority key decision-makers (KDMs), supporting DEI.

When implementing our Leap private markets solutions, we generally seek to identify managers that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The manager’s firm is at least a third (33%) owned by women and/or minorities.
  2. The investment committee comprises at least 50% women and/or minorities.
  3. Portfolio managers comprise at least 50% women and/or minorities.

Through the Leap continuum

(advice/research/investment solutions)

We can help our clients:

  • Turn challenges into opportunities
  • Seek out long-term sustainable returns by moving in the direction the market is heading
  • Show key stakeholders they are proactively responding to change and exerting a positive influence on the market
  • Appeal to the next generation of more socially ethically minded constituents.

Inclusion and Diversity at Mercer: leading the change we want to see

A diverse workforce and an inclusive culture makes us stronger as an organization and improves the quality of our work. According to data, diverse teams also deliver greater economic success.***

By understanding value and leveraging the strengths of all colleagues, we hold a differentiating advantage. Diverse teams generate richer discussions, more innovative ideas and bigger impact than teams where everyone is the same. Explore more details about Mercer’s global Diversity and Inclusion action plan which highlights our approach, strategy and actions, and commitments.

Meet some of our team 

Rich Nuzum

Rich Nuzum

President, Investments & Retirement,
and Executive Sponsor for Mercer’s Pride Business Resource Network


Raelan Lambert,

Raelan Lambert

Global Head of Alternatives

Amy Ridge

Amy Ridge

Investment Specialist - Alternatives

Allison Yager

Allison Yager

Global Leader, Real Estate

Speak to a Mercer consultant

*KDMs - Key Decision Markers defined as portfolio managers and dedicated analysts who are significantly involved in an investment strategy/fund and who contribute to the investment decisions and are accountable for the outcomes of that strategy. For private markets, this will include members of the investment committee who drive investment decisions as well as members of the portfolio management team who implement them.

**BIPOC - Black, Indigenous and People of Color

*** Sources:
- A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation.
- Venture capital firms that increased their proportion of female partner hires by 10% saw, on average, a 1.5% spike in overall fund returns each year and had 9.7% more profitable exits (an impressive figure given that only 28.8% of all VC investments have a profitable exit)

Important information


References to Mercer shall be construed to include Mercer LLC and/or its associated companies.


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Mercer’s research, advice and solutions described herein are for sophisticated institutional investors only.  Private markets investments are speculative and involve a high degree of risk, including lack of liquidity. This information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to purchase or sell any securities.


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