One thing we always look forward to over the summer is digging through the reams of submissions for our Young Guns of Secondaries annual ranking of the most impressive professionals under 36.
The quality of nominations we’ve received so far this year has been as high as ever. Take the young New York-based professional who has more than 50 deals worth over $3 billion in aggregate under his belt across infra, energy and real assets, or the family office investor who was promoted to full deal lead at the age of 27 and who “punches above his weight” when speaking at industry conferences.
Sadly, less than 4 percent of the submissions this year are for women. Yes, we know that women are under-represented in the overall private equity industry: in the UK, just 13 percent of partners at private equity firms are women, a figure which falls to just 9 percent among senior partners and a woeful 3 percent among operating partners. Of the top 10 PE firms globally, women account for a mere 8 percent of senior investment roles, according to Bloomberg.
We haven’t seen any data specifically focused on the secondaries industry, but we are sure there are highly impressive non-male secondaries professionals out there originating, leading or structuring deals, who all deserve to be recognised.
Women have accounted for one fifth of the overall Young Guns cohorts over the last four years – a figure we hope can be higher in years to come. But to have such a low submission rate for women this year is, frankly, depressing. We know the industry can do better.
The issue of diversity – of all kinds – has come to the fore with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US spurring demonstrations across the world. As we wrote earlier this month, there are concrete steps that private markets firms – and their investors – can take to promote diversity and inclusion. This includes the recruitment and advancement of minority employees at their organisations and partnering or investing with minority and women-owned firms. Many firms and investors have already started these journeys, but there is a long way to go.
That’s why we’re calling for your help. We’ve decided to extend the nominations process for another week until 5pm ET on Friday 26 June, and we will only be accepting submissions for non-male candidates during this period.
The Young Guns of Secondaries list remains one based on merit – those who make the ranking deserve to be acknowledged for their service to this creative and ever-evolving industry. We know there are women out there pushing the envelope. Help us celebrate them.
Nominations for our Young Guns of Secondaries Class of 2020 close this Friday 19 June with an extension for non-male candidates to Friday 26 June. Let us know who we should consider: firstname.lastname@example.org