From Diversity to Diversification
Progress was founded in 1990 to deliver performance value, while meeting a need for diversity in hiring investment managers. Pension plans seeking to support expanded opportunities among minority- and women-owned (MWBE) investment firms found in Progress a dedicated source of expertise on such firms. As a minority-owned business enterprise expert in managing managers, we have become a leading source of minority- and women-owned investment talent in the U.S.
Today, our firm is more broadly focused on for all types of emerging managers, delineated not only by ownership, but also by size and by alpha engines. This expanded focus is consistent with that of many pension plans that embrace the value-added that results from a diversity of ideas. They, too, have expanded their focus over time to include a broader opportunity set of firms ineligible for traditional searches for reasons unrelated to investment return potential. Responding to expanded client mandates, Progress has broadened our manager-of-manager programs to include firms excluded from traditional searches for a variety of reasons:
- Innovative alpha-generating strategies with demonstrated return potential that may not yet have entered the mainstream
- Emerging manager status - firms with less than $2 billion in assets under management
- Minority- and women-owned firms, many of which qualify as emerging
- Short firm track record
- Niche focus
- A low marketing profile
Most such companies tend to be smaller in size and, often, employee owned, which contributes to an entrepreneurial culture and a keen desire to succeed. The Progress database today is populated by a growing pool of talent, including many companies created by experienced investment teams who have left large firms for the challenges and rewards of owning their own companies.