Study: Too Few Latinos Own Financial Services Companies

October 24, 2003 ( - US Latinos have hit the financial services industry's glass ceiling with a loud thud as they are underrepresented in management and ownership positions, according to a new study.

Only 30 asset management firms, five private equity funds and 15 brokerage firms are owned by Latinos, a ccording to the study by the New America Alliance, a Washington, DC group that promotes the advancement of Latinos in business and finance. 

Additionally, Latinos were the majority owners or managers of only a handful of the nation’s 9,000 banks and savings and loans, the New York Times reported.

The study cited the private equity industry as an area where Latino-owned firms are “grossly underrepresented.” It found that the six or so Latino-controlled private equity companies in the United States had only $500 million of combined capital for investments, accounting for less than 0.2% of the funds available for investments in the private equity industry.

One way to change that, the group believes, is for public pension funds to pressure the financial services firms to bring on more Lations. Moctesuma Esparza, New America Alliance chairman also called for public funds to invest in more Latino small and medium-size ventures.

The study compared the percentage of Latinos in ownership and management positions in financial companies with Latino representation in the population. The US Census Bureau estimates that Latinos make up 14% of the population and projects that their share will grow to 25% by 2050. The number of Latinos grew 9.8% in the first two years of the decade, to 38.8 million nationwide, making Latinos the country’s largest minority.

“As a group that represents the future growth of the American economy, we’re beginning to gain access to a financial network based on kinship and relationships that has long been closed to us,” Esparza said, according to the Times. “Unfortunately it’s not happening fast enough. The heights of the financial world are still not within our reach.”