Southeastern is committed to fostering and promoting a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We recognize that our people are our most important asset and believe that a diverse and inclusive culture is key to achieving our mission. Incorporating diverse perspectives and insights help us make better, more informed investment decisions and achieve better outcomes for our clients, business and community.
At an investment level, diversity considerations come into play in our assessment of “People” – both senior management and board composition – at every business.
Studies show that a diversity of thought, experience and opinions helps drive better long-term results, with diversity and inclusion serving as a key source of competitive advantage and an important enabler of future growth. We monitor and actively engage with our companies on DEI considerations. We are an advocate for greater transparency, as well as much-needed progress on these broader diversity measures. Our initial area of focus is on transparent diversity reporting and gender diversity of boards, with a near-term target of 100% of companies having at least one female board member and a longer-term goal of a portfolio average of 30% female board members.
We look to partner with properly incentivized management teams and boards of directors that think and act like owners and are growing value per share through intelligent capital allocation.
We own high quality companies with sustainable competitive advantages, strong balance sheets and expected long-term free cash flow growth.
We buy businesses trading at 60% or less than our conservative estimate of a company’s intrinsic value, calculated using present value of free cash flow, net asset value and/or comparable business sales.
Enhancing diversity at our own firm and within the broader asset management industry is a key initiative, as we continually seek to deepen our global view with new and varied perspectives.
% of Women
% of Minorities
Over the last decade, we have made progress in diversifying the research team from a geographic background, ethnicity, age and gender perspective. This evolution of the team has yielded greater local expertise, deeper networks and a richer firm-wide global perspective. We recognize that we are still in early days. Given the small, lean nature of the firm, we do not frequently hire new team members. However, as a firm, we are committed to taking active steps to improve diversity and inclusion wherever possible, and our long-term goal is to increase our diverse employee representation over time.
We have implemented diversity training for employees involved in recruiting efforts. For all job searches, we consider working with a mixture of national, regional, local and minority-owned recruitment firms, all of which are given specific instructions to focus on bringing talented and diverse candidates to us for consideration. Additionally, we engage with non-profit organizations focused on catalyzing change in the industry by promoting more diverse leadership.
We established an internship program in 2020 with a female intern in our client relations team, who we hired as a full-time employee in 2021. This program has led to our partnering with Girls Who Invest to establish a more formal investment team internship program beginning Summer 2022. Additionally, Southeastern actively participates in and financially supports many organizations throughout the Memphis area targeting inner-city and urban education, talent development, recruitment and talent retention. One such organization is City Leadership, which focuses on maximizing the leadership capital and potential of Memphis. As part of this relationship, we involve City Leadership, and their related campaign #Choose901, to assist us in sourcing diverse candidates for job openings. To date, this relationship has allowed us to hire an additional woman into our Summer 2022 internship program.
A second, and similar example, is our relationship with REACH Memphis, an organization that prepares high-potential students from public high schools for college and careers through mentoring, exposure to summer academic/leadership experiences, intensive college preparation counseling, and career planning. In addition to Southeastern employee participation on REACH’s board, we have recently begun including the organization in our network of trusted referral sources for potential career opportunities.
The last several years have seen a much-needed, heightened focus on the lack of diversity within the investment industry. We strongly believe that building relationships and taking action are the only paths to healing the deep-seated inequalities across the United States and globally. Southeastern’s employees have been working for change within our local communities for decades, and we are taking new steps to promote growth within our industry. As a small, lean firm with low employee turnover, we have looked for ways that we can partner with other organizations to help make a positive impact within our industry.
In January 2021, we partnered with the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing via their Investment Management Access Program (IMAP). This program, focused on improving diversity within the asset management industry, supports partner programs including: AnBryce Scholars, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), Black Business association of Notre Dame (BBAND), BlackND Capital (BNDC), First Gen Careers Initiative, Smart Woman Securities (SWS), and Undergraduate Women in Business (UWIB).
In 2021 we partnered with Girls Who Invest (GWI), an organization that is helping transform the asset management industry by bringing more women into portfolio management and leadership through an inclusive program that provides education, mentoring, internships and a supportive community. We are working with GWI to establish a structured internship program, with our first intern to join us in summer 2022.
In August 2021, we launched an exciting new initiative, Greenwood Pine Partners, a mission-driven, minority-owned investment management firm with initial funding from the Shelby County Retirement System in Tennessee. Greenwood Pine is 51% owned by Southeastern Senior Analyst and Principal Brandon Arrindell, who is African American and from Memphis. Brandon serves as both majority owner and portfolio manager for this US-focused, all-cap strategy employing Southeastern’s long-term, concentrated, engaged approach. The goal of the structure and partnership with Shelby County is to produce strong risk-adjusted returns while also working to address the issue of minority underrepresentation in asset management. Where possible, Greenwood Pine seeks to partner with minority-owned, local service providers. Southeastern has pledged the proceeds derived from its 49% stake in the LLC to organizations that uplift and provide services to underserved communities.