We sometimes hear that diversity, like the Environmental, Social and Governance movement it is part of, has or should have little or nothing to do with the world of finance, that in fact, fiduciaries like BlackRock, CalPERS and the TCI fund are using other people’s money to push diversity along with the rest of ESG as part of a left-wing agenda. To that we say, Nonsense! ESG is simply a more holistic, longer-term approach to investing, one that believes companies run strictly for short-term stock market gains are simply not sustainable, essentially because they’re borrowing from the future to compensate investors today. As for diversity itself, study after study shows it leads to better decision making, simply by transcending groupthink.
Hence this second annual Women in M&A issue of The Dealmaker Quarterly that you hold in your hands, though this one is focused on private equity, which has historically been a particularly patriarchal corner of the financial world, or as we call it a financial man cave. But as you’ll see from senior editor Tom Terrarosa’s feature on the topic, “Into the Man Cave,” women are starting to enter it and brightening it with their unique talents in the process. The Deal’s staff briefly profiles 29 such women in the accompanying feature, “Private Equity’s Better Half,” while reporter Allie Garfinkle compares their inroads in PE with those they’ve made in the world of public corporations in “No Better, No Worse.” But we should note that our diversity package isn’t limited to PE, as senior reporter Stephanie Gleason weighs in with a look at how women are faring in the world of restructuring and concluding they’re doing best at boutique advisory firms in “Finding a Home.”
Roughly the other half of this issue is devoted, as has been our approach of late to the DQ, to middle-market dealmaking, specifically, to tie together both halves, within PE, as reporter Steve Gelsi dives into the industry’s expectations that the lower depths of the segment can produce higher returns going forward, if only because it often gets short shrift. Accompanying that feature is an expanded league table showing the 25 law firms and 10 investment banks that have advised on the most PE deals in the past 12 months.
One last thing: We acknowledge that our look at diversity is exclusively gender-based and that other forms need to be addressed. Far fewer PE firms are owned by racial minorities, for example, than by women overall. And that disparity calls out for its own analysis. It’s definitely on our radar. So stay tuned.
By Ronald Fink, Deputy Managing Editor