Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

SIFMA and its members strive to provide firms across the financial services industry with the resources needed to achieve, expand and promote workforce, client, and supplier diversity and inclusion. Through SIFMA’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council, we assist member firms in developing their diversity initiatives to increase inclusion in the workplace and in their efforts to market to diverse customers. We also provide benchmarking data on demographics and industry practices and recognizes achievements in diversity and inclusion.

SIFMA recognizes that achieving diversity is an evolutionary process that requires an ongoing commitment to diversity policies and practices, as well as regular assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of workforce and employment practices, business practices and supplier diversity, and transparency of organizational diversity and inclusion.

The Business Case for DE&I

In fact, being diverse and inclusive is not only the right thing to do but is also a smart business decision. Research has shown that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially and are more successful. A diverse workforce also expands your firm’s knowledge and helps advance your offerings to clients.

A 2018 study by McKinsey, Delivering through diversity, found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.” As for ethnic and cultural diversity, “the finding was a 33% likelihood of out-performance on EBIT margin.”

As the study explained, “correlation does not equal causation,” but it does indicate that when “companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful.” Diverse companies are “better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.”

The Six DEI Pillars

SIFMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council has outlined six pillars to guide industry efforts in making progress towards DEI goals:

Pillar 1: Metrics and Measurement

Measure and demonstrate progress in the financial services industry with benchmarking and reporting, including with SIFMA’s biennial member surveys.

Pillar 2: Leadership Development

Develop rising talent to advance more women and people of color into senior roles.

In addition to recruiting and retention, there also needs to be a focus on Leadership Development to advance more women and people of color into senior roles.

Pillar 3: Talent Acquisition

Recruit, nurture and retain a diverse workforce by implementing strategies to cultivate pipelines and expand targeted recruiting efforts.

Pillar 4: Outreach and Engagement

Enhance community outreach and engagement through increased financial literacy across schools, including programs of the SIFMA Foundation, and identify diverse rising talent through programs targeting secondary schools and accredited colleges and universities, for instance, SIFMA Invest!

Pillar 5: Business Opportunities

Attract diverse clients and diverse suppliers.

Pillar 6: Training

Build the cultural competence of leaders, including through unconscious bias training.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in the financial services industry is an issue of utmost importance, and SIFMA looks to continue to lead on it in the future.

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