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BVCA calls for enhanced diversity among Limited Partners as industry code expands

Publish Date 28 May 2024
Categories Research
The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) has today announced the expansion of the Investing in Women Code (IiWC), which commits firms to supporting female entrepreneurship in the UK. Alongside this initiative, the BVCA has published research on diversity and inclusion (D&I) within UK-based Limited Partner (LP) investment teams, marking the first comprehensive study of ethnicity representation in these teams.

Expanding the Investing in Women Code

The IiWC aims to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to finance. From next year, its scope will be expanded to include data on Limited Partner firms, with the BVCA formally invited by the Department for Business and Trade to lead on data collection efforts for LPs.

Limited Partners, as key investors who contribute capital to private equity or venture capital funds, play a crucial role in the industry, and increased transparency on diversity will help identify and address barriers to D&I progress.

The BVCA has worked closely with LP firms to ensure the reporting requirements of the Code are fit for purpose, providing insights into progress within the sector. Participation in the IiWC is integral to increasing the capital flow to female-led businesses. The BVCA will take a central role in working with signatories to use this data to benchmark and assess sector-wide progress.

BVCA report on Diversity and Inclusion in LP investment teams

The BVCA’s newly published report reveals significant room for improvement in diversity and inclusion within LP investment teams. Highlighting the need for action, the report outlines several key recommendations, endorsed by participating firms, to improve D&I across the sector:

  • Data & Transparency: LPs should regularly collect and analyse D&I data to provide an accurate picture of the diversity landscape while also committing to initiatives such as IiWC or the Women in Finance Charter.
  • Recruitment & Outreach: Firms should start recruitment processes earlier and cast a wider net to attract a more diverse pool of candidates.
  • Retention & Inclusion: Career development of all genders and backgrounds should be supported through mentoring, fair allocation of resources, and flexible working conditions.
  • Culture & Leadership: Senior leadership must promote and embed a culture of diversity and inclusion through proactive actions and organisational policies.

These recommendations are backed by research findings which show:

  • Gender: 28% of LP investment professionals at the mid-senior level are female, decreasing to 21% at the senior level, while 33% at the junior level are female.
  • Ethnicity: Around 20% of LP investment professionals across all seniority levels identify as being from Asian, Black, African, Caribbean, Mixed/Multiple, or Other Ethnicities.

  • Read the report

    Commenting on the report, Michael Moore, BVCA Chief Executive said:

    “Diversity in all forms is crucial to the success of businesses of all sizes. More work needs to be done on transparency, recruitment, retention and culture to improve diversity in the LP sector and across our industry.

    “We need to recognise the good practice that does exist and work with the industry to move further and faster to ensure our industry harnesses talent irrespective of people’s backgrounds.

    “It is essential we keep D&I issues top of mind and address barriers head-on.”

    Kevin Hollinrake, Minister of State for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business said:

    “The Investing in Women Code has been instrumental in shining a light on how and whether female led businesses are financed. The expansion of the Code to Limited Partners is a natural next step to enhance the focus on female founders and investors throughout the investment community. I am grateful to the BVCA for their continued support as a Code Partner and their enhanced role in data collection for this new cohort of signatories.”

    Media contacts

    James Gribben, BVCA: jgribben@bvca.co.uk

    Notes to editors

    The Diversity & Inclusion in Limited Partner Investment Teams report is available here.

    About the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association

    The BVCA, as the representative body for private equity and venture capital, connects institutional investors, fund managers, companies, advisers and service providers together, with our membership currently comprising more than 600 businesses from across the private capital ecosystem. This includes more than 250 PE and VC firms, 100 institutional investors and 200 professional services firms.

    Private capital drives growth – providing the funding, expertise and long-term view that enables companies to innovate and flourish. Our mission is to advocate the transformative nature of the private equity and venture capital community.

    Limited Partners:

    A Limited Partner (LP) is an investor who contributes capital to a private equity or venture capital fund. Limited partners are typically institutional investors, such as pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, family offices and high-net-worth individuals.


    Data was collected through a survey sent to BVCA Limited Partner member firms, with non-member LP firms also invited to participate, targeting investment team members dedicating over 50% of their time to private capital investment. The research sample consisted of 31 survey responses from Limited Partner firms, covering 804 private capital investment professionals in the UK.

    Supported by a steering group including representatives from Level 20, Diversity VC, ILPA, and LP firms, the research also involved two focus groups to gather qualitative insights on recruitment, promotion, retention, and cultural practices, providing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities for women and diverse individuals in Limited Partners Investment teams.