BlackRock and Vanguard Among Firms Democrats Ask About Diversity

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House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters wants BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group Inc. and other big asset managers to turn over data on their firms’ hiring of women and minorities, expanding on a similar request she previously made to Wall Street banks.

Waters and fellow Democrat Representative Joyce Beatty sought the information from the 31 largest U.S. investment firms, all of which manage at least $400 billion, according to a statement from the committee Thursday. In addition to BlackRock and Vanguard, State Street Corp. and Fidelity Investments Inc. were also among companies that received the request.

“Investment firms have failed to prioritize diversity and inclusion on their staffs and boards, and have also failed to prioritize doing business with diverse-owned asset managers,” Waters said in the statement.

The announcement came hours after Beatty, the chairwoman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, concluded a hearing on diversity with witnesses including New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Anne Simpson, a director for sustainable investments for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The panel also discussed legislation that would increase diversity at financial firms.

Beatty convened the hearing to shine a spotlight on the potential consequences of not having data on diversity and to discuss legislation that would require mandatory disclosure of such information, according to a memo by committee staff. Many public companies haven’t shared their diversity metrics, which could leave shareholders uninformed about investment risks, according to the memo.

Waters of California and Ohio’s Beatty sent letters to the top U.S. banks seeking diversity data. In February 2020, they released a report and that found only 23 of the 44 largest lenders publicly disclose such information.

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