Jun 9, 2020 - Economy

Fighting racism through investment

Illustrated collage of two hands grasping one another with coins falling in the background.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It doesn't take a $100 million SoftBank fund or a $1 billion Bank of America initiative to help increase racial equality in the United States.

The state of play: There is much that concerned investors can do to help curtail the racial wealth gap and general systemic racial inequality that is at the heart of the protests currently happening in the U.S. and around the world.

What they're saying: Cornerstone Capital Group, an investment adviser focusing on socially conscious investing, wrote a white paper in 2018 detailing investment changes portfolio managers and investors could make to help reduce the racial wealth gap (see above).

  • "Wealth inequality among racial and ethnic groups in the United States results from structural racism dating to the beginning of the republic," Cornerstone said in the paper.
  • "Investors can contribute to the narrowing of economic disparities through a dedicated emphasis on investing in underserved minority communities."

Beyond impact investing, there are major steps to be taken in corporate America, according to Anthony Coley, a former U.S. Treasury official and senior executive at Managed Funds Association, who is now the founder of Corner Office Strategies.

  • "Collectively and individually, corporate America must commit to reverse the legacy of systemic discrimination," Coley writes in a commentary for Barron's.
  • "Giving money to frontline organizations is good (and necessary) but it is not nearly enough. Real change requires us to rethink the role of business in a free market economy. Take a look at what the Business Roundtable is doing in this area."
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