Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

SIFMA advocates for a diverse and inclusive financial industry. Together with our members, we 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.

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

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 recent 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.

Where We Are

For more than 20 years, the Council has conducted a benchmark survey and encourages more of our member firms to participate. While clearly a work in progress for the industry, having conversations and working towards a more diverse, inclusive future is imperative.

Where We’re Headed

By building a diverse talent pipeline, we can foster diversity, equity and inclusion in the financial services industry. The SIFMA Invest! program and virtual platform offers students a myriad of educational, industry research and career development opportunities to pursue a career in financial services.

To help build equity through education, SIFMA has partnered with FINRA and Knopman Marks to offer scholarships to SIFMA Invest! students interested in training for the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam, the mandatory first step to all securities licensing.

The SIFMA DE&I Podcast Series

SIFMA’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Podcast series highlights the innovative DE&I initiatives at SIFMA member firms. This sharing of information will bring greater attention to DE&I across the financial services industry in addition to exploring company culture, the changing workforce, the needs of employees and clients, as well as the programs that member firms have implemented in support of diversity and inclusion.

We speak with industry leaders about their firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and their efforts to recruit and retain diverse colleagues in the financial services industry.

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