Global insurance and financial services company Prudential Financial announced today a new initiative to invest $200 million in early-stage private equity firms with diverse ownership.

The new Prudential DEI Portfolio will direct private equity investments utilizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) criteria, in firms owned or managed by women and minorities, with a particular focus on those raising capital for first or second funds. Factors to be considered by the DEI Portfolio Investment Steering Committee when evaluating future investments and evaluate funds will include diversity of fund management ownership, diversity of the portfolio management team and impact of the investment strategy on diverse populations.

Cherrise Cederqvist, Vice President at PGIM Investments, and leader of the DEI Portfolio program, said:

“Our goal in managing the DEI Portfolio is to provide equity of opportunity for segments that often face challenges in the fundraising process, while also maintaining the rigorous investment standards we’re known for. Ultimately, we expect the investments made through the DEI Portfolio to result in greater representation and increased assets under management for women and minority-owned investment firms over time.”

According to Prudential, the new initiative complements its investments in later-stage alternative asset firms owned and operated by women and minorities, with the company currently overseeing investments of nearly $1.2 billion in in well-established private equity funds, hedge funds and real estate funds with substantial or majority ownership by an ethnic minority or women.

Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President for Prudential’s Inclusive Solutions organization, said:

“We are committed to meaningfully developing and growing women and minority managers by ensuring the selection process is equitable and inclusive across the full spectrum of early and late stage funds. By providing intellectual and financial capital, and by serving as an advocate for this segment, we are seeking to break down the structural barriers that prevent diverse-led teams from raising capital.”