San Francisco – December 2, 2020 – U.S. asset management firms owned by Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) manage just 0.7% of capital in the industry, despite their performance meeting or exceeding industry benchmarks, according to a study published today by the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM) and Bella Private Markets. The study is the first to focus exclusively on the representation of AAPIs and addresses a different timeframe, precluding comparison to earlier diverse manager studies.

Led by Prof. Josh Lerner, Jacob H. Schiff Professor at Harvard Business School, the study examined U.S.-based asset management firms across public equity, private equity, real estate and hedge funds that had AAPI ownership above 50%, and found they represented only 3.5% of the industry total. These findings contrast with the 5.6% of the U.S. population made up by the AAPI community, which is substantially over-represented in such measures as attendance at top-tier business schools and labor rate participation.

“The need for greater inclusion among the AAPI community is often overlooked due to outdated ‘model minority’ stereotypes and generalizations of a complex and diverse group,” said Brenda Chia, Co-Chair of AAAIM. “Through this study, we aim to highlight the chasm that still needs to be bridged to achieve more equitable representation of AAPIs in the asset management industry.”

Although the AAPI community was the fastest growing U.S. racial group between 2000 and 2015, the study shows it has yet to achieve full representation in the asset management industry. In the four asset classes under consideration— private equity, public equity, real estate, and hedge funds—the number of AAPI-owned firms ranged from 0.3% to 6.8% of the total, while AUM ranged from 0.2% to 2.0%. In addition, AAPI-owned firms face challenges in achieving efficient scale and on average manage less than $500 million in AUM.

The study also determined that despite their low levels of AUM, AAPI-owned firms generated results that matched or exceeded the relevant industry benchmarks, even when adjusted for risk, size, and strategy. Furthermore, AAPI-owned private equity funds were over-represented in the top quartile.

Added Ms. Chia: “Research has shown that diverse-owned funds have a substantial impact on the economy at large. These investors tend to back diverse entrepreneurs, who in turn address the needs of underserved communities. Our study shows that the AAPI investment community offers a significant opportunity for asset managers who want to both do good and do well.”

Prof. Josh Lerner commented: “Research findings, both in this study and work from other academics, continue to suggest the existence of large gaps in representation throughout the asset management industry.”

The AAAIM seeks to increase diverse representation in the asset management industry through three initiatives: increasing regulatory transparency; developing programs that encourage investment in diverse-owned firms; and providing training to prepare members of diverse communities to found and grow their own funds. To support or participate in these efforts, or request the white paper based on the report, please visit us at

The Association of Asian American Investment Managers is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in the investment management industry and serving as a powerful voice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Our goal is to elevate underrepresented groups through education, networking, and empowerment.

AAAIM Media Contact
Kit Canlas, 615-717-5227