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Diane Garnick Seeks Lift for Wall Street Women With New Firm

Diane Garnick, a former investment strategist at Invesco Ltd., said she is opening an asset management firm today that she hopes will help tilt the balance of the top Wall Street jobs more in favor of women.

Garnick, who turns 45 today, said she is founding New York-based Clear Alternatives LLC with a staff of three other women that she plans to boost to 12 by the end of this year. The firm has lined up pledges from potential investors and her goal is to raise at least $500 million in assets under management by Dec. 31, she said.

“One of the biggest challenges is for women to find an organization that’s willing to accept them back after they leave the work force to raise children without taking a cut in compensation and responsibility,” Garnick, who has two daughters and will be chief executive officer, said in a phone interview yesterday. “Our objective is to solve that problem.”

Garnick joined Invesco in 2007 after working as a derivatives strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. and an investment strategist at State Street Corp. She said she wants to help more women graduates from the best business schools go on to senior management roles in financial services.

Women make up 18 percent of executive officers at Fortune 500 finance and insurance companies, according to a 2011 report from Catalyst Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on women and business. About 43 percent of master’s degrees in business administration and management in the 2009 to 2010 school year were conferred to women, according to the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Clear Alternatives will be a registered investment adviser and seek to manage funds from pensions, endowments and other asset managers, Garnick said.

Garnick graduated from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and last year earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. She also is a Certified Public Accountant.

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