Citi, JPMorgan and Others Sign on to Boost Diversity in Finance
(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Fidelity Investments are among more than a dozen financial services firms joining an initiative to increase diversity across the asset management world.
Called “The Diversity Project,” the push is sponsored by NICSA, a non-profit trade association for the industry. Part of the goal is to ensure professionals in the investment business are as diverse as the clients and communities they serve.
“We have a brand challenge across the financial services industry -- where the brand is not very diverse, as we all know and acknowledge,” said Dan Houlihan, an executive at Northern Trust who is chairman of NICSA’s board. It’s especially unfortunate that some groups are underrepresented because the business offers excellent career opportunities, he said.
Many Wall Street leaders have been pledging publicly for years to increase the diversity of their workforces, employing more women, minorities and other traditionally underrepresented groups. At the 2018 Makers conference in January, for example, more than 40 companies including financial firms UBS Group AG, PayPal Holdings Inc. and Lightspeed Venture Partners said they will take a range of steps designed to support women.
The calls also have come from outside the industry. In March, the Congressional Black Caucus urged leaders of lobby groups for mutual funds and hedge funds to encourage their members to have “frank conversations” about increasing black diversity at the companies in which they invest.
With nearly 200 member organizations, NICSA said its initiative is unique because it emphasizes the active participation of senior leaders from some of the biggest firms in the industry, including Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc., the CFA Institute, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Capital Group Cos., Deloitte, Eaton Vance, MFS Investment Management, Northern Trust, Sionna Investment Managers, State Street Global Advisors and Starpoint Solutions.
“This is about not diversity for diversity’s sake,” Houlihan said, noting that the group hasn’t yet committed to specific goals or hard targets. “But really, how do we embed the concept of having an inclusive organization to drive innovation and capability and better represent the communities and areas we work in?”
Houlihan and NICSA will discuss the project publicly for the first time at the organization’s general membership meeting on Oct. 12 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Houlihan will moderate a panel on diversity with executives from Fidelity Investments, Northern Trust, Confluence and MFS Investment Management.
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