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Page, Co-Founder & Executive Chair of Värde Partners, Launches MPowered Capital

September 21, 2021, 06:00 AM
Filed Under: Investor Services

MPowered Capital an invesnt firm established to invest in best-in-class female and other underrepresented talent* in the alternative investment space, announced its official launch.

MPowered was founded and will be led by Marcia Page, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Värde Partners (“Värde”), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $14 billion of assets under management. Ms. Page, a pioneer in the industry and one of only a few female founders of a global alternative investment firm that now has a 28-year track record, has committed $75 million of her personal capital to backing female and other underrepresented talent.

Ms. Page is joined by Chrissie Chen Pariso, a long-time advocate in supporting industry-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, with twenty years of investment experience. Yibai Haney completes the MPowered leadership team, with over 10 years of experience as a structured and growth equity investor. Over the last year, the team has committed capital to an array of investment opportunities, including fund investments, structured transactions, and direct/co-investments. MPowered will operate as an independently-managed investment firm and is being developed in collaboration with, and will partner with, Värde to leverage certain business and operational capabilities.

MPowered brings a unique blend of investment experience, business-building expertise, and a broad industry network in seeking to help accelerate the growth of female and other underrepresented talent, providing access to the capital, commitment, and connections needed to help grow their firms. The Firm believes it is able to offer its clients exposure to an exceptional, diversified pool of targeted investment talent that many investors ordinarily would not have access to given their emergent nature as fund managers and the complexities involved with underwriting and conducting due diligence.

“Female and other underrepresented talent in the investment management industry has long been undercapitalized and disadvantaged, resulting in what we believe is a significant capital mismatch, and therefore opportunity,” said Ms. Page, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of MPowered. “Research indicates that diverse talent has generated incremental alpha and often outperformed their non-diverse peers. Our mission is to create more representation within the industry by addressing the dearth of funding for this talent and demonstrating the compelling opportunity to deliver strong performance.”

Empirical research supporting MPowered’s investment model and thesis is well documented:

  • According to the Knight Foundation’s Diverse Asset Management Study, diverse talent manages only 1.3% of the $69 trillion institutional assets under management and accounts for 10% of total firms in the U.S. asset management industry, despite being overrepresented in the top quartile of performance.
  • In a paper published by professors at HEC Paris, a leading business school, a study of investment deals showed that relative to male-only deal teams, gender-diverse deal teams in private equity generate internal rates of return that are 12% higher, along with reducing average capital loss ratios by 8-12%.
  • Within private equity, the National Association of Investment Companies (“NAIC”) Examining Returns of 2019 report found that diverse private equity funds in the NAIC Private Equity Index performed better than the Burgiss Median Quartile in nearly 79% of the vintage years studied between 1994-2018.

Ms. Pariso, Managing Director at MPowered, added, “Despite increasing attention being paid to diversity, equity and inclusion among investment firms, we are not seeing this translate to meaningful capital commitments due to a variety of structural forces in our industry as well as unconscious bias. It’s time for this dynamic to change and to create a more equitable future for this pool of exceptional investment talent.”

The Firm recently closed a direct investment and completed a structured transaction with L2 Point, a female-founded firm that specializes in making structured equity investments in growth companies. MPowered’s direct investment alongside L2 Point provided L2 Point with flexible capital to facilitate a portfolio company investment that supports the manager in continuing to build its independent track record, while the structured transaction provided L2 Point with working capital plus a Fund I commitment. MPowered believes the combination of these investments offers multiple forms of downside protection coupled with meaningful upside optionality.

“Finding capital partners for pre-fund transactions has allowed us to prove our thesis, sourcing, and underwriting capabilities without a formal track record,” said Kerstin Dittmar, Founder and Managing Partner at L2 Point. “Additionally, our working capital facility will enable us to hire a team and build out our organization sooner than we would have otherwise been able to afford, accelerating our path to an institutional fundraise.”

With female partners of alternative investment management firms shown to invest in twice as many female founding teams as their male colleagues, MPowered anticipates that more capital will flow into companies with similar compositions. Additionally, U.S. startups with at least one female founder go on to hire 2.5 times more women than startups with all-male founders. With more women and underrepresented talent at the helm, MPowered believes this will create a flywheel effect that drives outperformance and extends equity ever wider.

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