Level 20 – Promoting inclusion in the private equity industry

Today, only 10% of partners and 22% of investment professionals in Finnish private equity firms are women*. We see no good reason for these statistics to continue going forward. The toolbox required to be successful and build a career within private equity is available regardless of gender and nationality and for a wide array of educational and professional backgrounds, but it takes time and effort to drive change. The goal of non-profit organisation Level 20 is to drive diversity and inclusion within the private equity industry.

Level 20 works with a wide range of initiatives that start with outreach to attract talent from a broad pool of professionals. The non-profit further organises networking events and mentoring programs to develop employees. Through the creation of best practices and industry guidelines, Level 20 helps retain superstars in the industry. The recently established Level 20 Nordic committee consists of five leaders within Nordic private equity, of which CapMan Buyout’s Managing Partner Pia Kåll is one.

Why does diversity matter?

Diversity in the workplace provides organisation with valuable perspective on issues driving the business. Different backgrounds provide more insights into e.g. underlying market development and help spot trends and changing consumer preferences. There are studies that show that diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to financially outperform their peers**, and that more inclusive workplaces can be up to six times more innovative than less-equal ones***. Having a 360 view is crucial when making investments as well as when conducting strategic board work in portfolio companies.

We are active owners

As active owners, CapMan sets the tone for our portfolio companies. Establishing and following proper HR policies that e.g. include zero tolerance for discrimination and that promote fair and inclusive hiring and advancement practices increases awareness around these issues. As owners, we also lead by example through e.g. considering diversity in the establishment of investment committees and in board composition. Diversity is seldom high on the agenda when we become involved, but the benefits become evident as companies mature.

CapMan Buyout leading the way on diversity

Pia Kåll, Managing Partner of CapMan Buyout is [one of few] women heading a Nordic Buyout team.

“The focus for CapMan Buyout is to have the right people in the right positions. Both recruitments and the development of talent from within are in a key position. Promotions and responsibilities are made based on merit. Currently 27 % of the investment team is female and xx% is below 35. Having diverse backgrounds creates an open culture where everyone is welcome to share their thoughts,” Kåll says.  

About Level 20

Level 20 is a non-profit organisation founded in 2015 and headquartered in London. The purpose of the organisation is to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion topics within the private equity industry. Level 20 is supported by over 40 international private equity firms and it is active in the UK, Benelux and Germany. Several chapters are starting in 2019. The Nordic committee consists of five leaders within Nordic private equity:

Pia Kåll
Managing Partner
CapMan Buyout

Kine Burøy-Olsen
Managing Partner
Cubera Private Equity

Jenny Keisu
Summa Equity

Rikke Kjaer Nielsen
EQT Partners

Ingrid Teigland Akay
Managing Partner
Hadean Ventures

* Source: FVCA analysis Spring 2019

** Source: McKinsey: Delivering through diversity 2018, survey of 1000 companies across 12 countries

*** Source: Accenture, Innovation=Equality; getting to equal 2019; survey of 18,200 working professionals across 27 countries and interviews with 152 C-suite executives during 2018