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Finance and Assets

Inclusive Investing: Are fiduciaries acting on behalf of beneficiaries in their decision-making?

Investors across the world are starting to focus on diversity and inclusion when evaluating corporate boards, who manages their money, and in the leadership of the portfolio companies in which they’re investing. Yet diversity initiatives still face many headwinds. How can we create a culture in which asset managers and fiduciaries proactively seek investing opportunities that herald diversity? What is the responsibility of fiduciaries to take into account the interests of their populations? Members and associates of the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship bring their unique perspectives to the table.

For years, the story of America’s prosperity has obscured a fundamental truth about our growth: its tragic inequity. And while the COVID-19 economic crisis has stripped bare any illusion that our economy is just or fair, it has also afforded us an opportunity to reexamine how finance, worker benefits, and health intersect and interact with economic growth and financial security.


  • Britt Harris, President, CEO, and CIO, UTIMCO
  • Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer, Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley, and a Henry Crown Fellow
  • Rodrigo Garcia, Deputy State Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer, Illinois State Treasury, and a Finance Leaders Fellow
  • Erika Seth Davies, Fellow, Fair Finance, Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University &  Founder, the Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL)
  • Moderated by: Ranji Nagaswami, Senior Advisor, SVP Global, and Henry Crown Fellow

Britt Harris
President, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, UTIMCO 

Britt Harris has more than 30 years of investment experience leading several of the largest, most successful, and most innovative investment organizations in America. In addition, Mr. Harris is currently a member of the President’s Working Group for Financial Markets and an advisor to the New York Federal Reserve and the Dallas Federal Reserve. He is one of only a few people who have worked extensively in both the private and public sectors. Mr. Harris is currently the President, CEO and CIO at the University of Texas/Texas A&M University Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) which is the largest public endowment in America. Prior to his arrival at UTIMCO, he was the CIO for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the CEO for Bridgewater Associates and was also the CIO and President for Verizon Investment Management Corporation. Previously Mr. Harris was a managing director for Asea Brown Boveri in Europe. Mr. Harris got his start in his home state of Texas. He has three times been named one of America’s leading pension plan investment chiefs. Mr. Harris has been consistently named one of the top five asset investors in the world. In 2013 he was honored with a lifetime achievement for distinguished service to the financial industry. Mr. Harris also serves as an executive professor for “Titans of Investing” at his alma mater Texas A&M University and The University of Texas. He has also guest lectured on investments and public policy at Harvard, Princeton and Yale. In addition, he is a frequent speaker on various spiritual matters and serves on a variety of public and private boards. Mr. Harris has been married for more than 35 years to his high school sweetheart. He and his wife Julia have four children and live in Austin, Texas.


Lisa Shalett
Chief Investment Officer and Head of the Global Investment Office for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Lisa Shalett is Chief Investment Officer and Head of the Global Investment Office for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and a member of both the Global Investment Committee and the Wealth Management Operating Committee. She works to develop portfolio solutions that leverage the firm’s strategic and tactical asset allocation advice to meet client goals delivered through both scaled and customized solutions. As part of her role, Lisa leads the development of all asset allocation models, global investment due diligence and portfolio analytics. She also has responsibility for managing the Global Investment Committee’s models and Outsourced Chief Investment Office mandates, which collectively have more than $100 billion in assets under management. In addition, Lisa is responsible for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management thought leadership and publishes special reports on topics of importance for practitioners and clients.

Prior to joining the firm in September 2013, Lisa served as chief investment officer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. Previously, she held several senior roles at AllianceBernstein during her 18-year tenure with the firm, including chairman and chief executive officer of Sanford C. Bernstein, LLC, and served as chief investment officer and head of Alliance Growth Equities. Lisa holds a dual Sc.B. degree in applied mathematics and economics from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute and a founding member of the Financial Fellowship.


Rodrigo Garcia 
Deputy State Treasurer & Chief Investment Officer, Illinois State Treasurer or Illinois State Treasury  

Rodrigo Garcia, CTP®, AIF® is the deputy state treasurer and chief investment officer for Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs. He directs the treasury’s combined $35 billion investment portfolio, $300 billion in related banking operations and financial services, and a $3.2 billion agency budget and financial services unit. In this leadership role, Rodrigo leverages financial innovation, investment stewardship, corporate governance, stakeholder capitalism and equity, diversity, and inclusion to maximize investment returns and bolster the Illinois macro and micro economies. He is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, an Aspen Global Finance Fellow and a recent TEDx speaker. He also is a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP®), an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), and holds SASB’s FSA credential. Rodrigo was previously the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a member of the Illinois Cabinet, and has also worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Rodrigo holds an undergraduate degree with a major in finance from Northeastern Illinois University, two post-graduate degrees, one with a focus in finance from the University of Illinois and one with a focus in public policy from Northwestern University, and has also completed a senior executives program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Rodrigo chairs the investment selection committee at Angeles Investors, serves on the executive committee and chairs the investment committee for the endowment at Northeastern Illinois University Foundation, serves on the investment committee for the endowment at Youth Guidance/Becoming a Man, serves as the treasurer on the board of directors for the Thirty Percent Investor Coalition and is the chairman emeritus of Student Veterans of America. He also serves on the advisory councils for the Private Directors Association, the Milken Institute’s Global Capital Markets group and the Aspen Institute’s Latinos in Society program. He is a dedicated public servant, an investment platform innovator, an angel investor and an economic systems architect battling the many challenges afflicting communities in need.


Erika Seth Davies 
Fellow, Fair Finance, Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University &  Founder, the Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL) 

Erika Seth Davies has been a nonprofit leader for 20+ years with extensive experience in development and fundraising, program design, collaboration and partnership management, and racial equity advocacy. She has worked in the field of philanthropy for nearly 10 years including positions as Associate Director of Philanthropy at McDonogh School, the Chief of Staff of the Baltimore Community Foundation and Vice President of External Affairs at ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities. Ms. Davies has engaged in extensive efforts to advance the field on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She designed the SMART Investing initiative, the first philanthropic effort to incorporate a racial equity lens in foundation endowment practice through increased access for minority- and women-owned investment management firms. She authored white papers promoting policies and practice in support of this approach, including Foundation Investment Management Practices: Thoughts on Alpha and Access for the Field and Diverse Managers: Philanthropy’s Next Hurdle. Ms. Davies also managed Leverage the Trust, a national initiative to identify and support black trustees of foundations in advancing racial equity within their institutions, and Catalyzing Community Giving Institute, a project aimed at increasing strategic giving among black Greek-letter organizations, professional and civic organizations.

Ms. Davies speaks frequently and facilitates conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion through a race lens and has presented during conferences and convenings for Mission Investors Exchange, the Council on Foundations, the National Association of Securities Professionals, and Confluence Philanthropy among many others. Erika is the founder of The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL), a venture supported by Common Future where she is a Social Entrepreneur in Residence, that centers racial equity in impact investing by leveraging the networks, data, education, and strategies needed to shift capital to close the persistent racial wealth gap. She was a member of the inaugural class of the ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship program, a recipient of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector, and a member of the class of 2017 for Executive Leadership Institute of CFLeads. Ms. Davies enjoys volunteering as a member of the Impact Hub Baltimore Advisory Board and a member of the board of directors for the Baltimore Algebra Project. She earned a B.A. in English and Certificate of African Studies from Georgetown University.


Ranji Nagaswami
Chief Strategy and Chief Commercial Officer, SVP Global, and Co-founder, Finance Leaders Fellowship 

Ranji is Chief Strategy and Chief Commercial Officer of SVPGlobal (Strategic Value Partners, LLC) a global investment firm managing nearly US$10 Billion in distressed debt and private equity investments. Through her 30+ year career in the investment industry, Ranji has held executive and portfolio management positions at world-class asset management firms. She was previously Chief Executive Officer of Hirtle Callaghan, a pioneer of the Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) fiduciary model managing $20 Billion in client assets.  She has held leadership roles at UBS Asset Management, AllianceBernstein, Bridgewater Associates and Corsair Capital.  She also served as chief investment advisor to the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for the City of New York’s public employee pension plans. 

Ranji has served on numerous Boards and Investment Committees including currently serving on the Curtis Institute Investment Committee, and previously as a member of the Yale University Investment Committee, the Yale School of Management Advisory Board, and the North American Council of Ashoka, a global fellowship of social entrepreneurs, among others.  She earned a Bachelor of Commerce from Mumbai University in India, a MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. 

Ranji is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and moderator for the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  Her chief life mission outside of her professional endeavors is to deepen the crucial connection between Finance and Society through the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship, which she founded at the Aspen Institute. Ranji relies greatly on her husband Bo Hopkins, a professor at Yale University and their two grown children Mira and Jay for their shared laughter, love and courage.

Join our new conversation series: Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding

Showcasing leading experts and policymakers in their fields, the Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding Series will explore different yet interconnected topics, drawing on the perspectives of multiple programs and leadership networks at the Aspen Institute. Issues to be addressed include lending for entrepreneurs of color; benefits for workers and the connection between benefits and financial security; the role of global health organizations in the effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines as a means for economic recovery; and a look at capital management and how fiduciaries are and are not acting on behalf of beneficiaries in the interest of inclusion.

This series is part of the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center For Inclusive Growth. See below for full event descriptions and speakers. Registration is required.

This program is a partnership of the Finance Leaders Fellowship and the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. We’re excited to continue to deliver programming in partnership with the AGLN Fellowships that brings the power of the Aspen Global Leadership Network to life.

Event information