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‘Injustice and inequity constrain our economy’: New coalition wants to advance racial and economic security in financial services

  • A coalition of 18 financial institutions has recently announced their commitment to improving racial and economic equity in financial services.
  • The coalition includes leading companies such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
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‘Injustice and inequity constrain our economy’: New coalition wants to advance racial and economic security in financial services

A coalition of 18 leading financial institutions announced four new commitments to boost racial and economic equity in the financial services industry. The Corporate Call to Action: Coalition for Equity and Opportunity (CCA) aims to drive $30 billion in funding, contracting, and capacity building for communities and business owners of color in the next five years. 

The coalition, which was launched by the Connecticut Office of the Treasurer in partnership with the Ford Foundation, will create more than 10,000 work development and internship opportunities for Black and Latinx talent. 

It also calls for public reporting and measurable progress in pay equity, workplace inclusion, and industry representation across the financial services workforce, including senior leadership.

“Our mission is to confront long-standing racial economic disparities in the United States and their impact on the nation’s economy,” said Connecticut’s State Treasurer, Shawn T. Wooden.  

“In order to do that, we need to make sure that our work is centered around establishing long-term, measurable commitments that address the need for deep, structural changes. We know that the financial services industry can positively advance racial and economic security through opportunities both within and outside of their companies.”

Coalition members include major financial services institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citi, BlackRock, Bank of America, and UBS. Member companies represent $1 trillion in market capitalization and approximately $26 trillion in assets under management.

As part of its first round of commitments in January of 2021, CCA members agreed to publicly disclose workforce demographic data reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Financial services play a central role in the everyday lives of people in the U.S. As an industry, we have the opportunity to harness our core business capabilities to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility,” said Brandee McHale, head of Citi Community Investing and Development and president of the Citi Foundation. 

“Citi and our fellow coalition members are taking intentional steps to fundamentally change the ways that we work and harness the strength of financial services to drive equitable progress.”

CCA’s commitments include diversifying suppliers and business partners through $10 billion in investment to increase spending in businesses owned by people of color, particularly for Black-owned businesses. It also aims to facilitate the financial well-being of more than 30,000 people of color working in service industries. 

“The fact is racial injustice and inequity constrain our economy, and dismantling systemic racism in the financial services industry could help unlock billions in economic opportunities and growth,” said Wooden. 

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The collective intends to support mid-career professionals and students through career development support. It will provide internship and work development programs for more than 10,000 Black and Latinx students every year. The initiative will also increase diversity data transparency and generate equitable job and salary opportunities. 

The CCA was formed in September of 2020 in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. The incident prompted Wooden to challenge corporate America in an Op-ed to get off the sidelines and to act as a catalyst for change.

“In that piece, I noted that as a state treasurer overseeing more than $60 billion, I am aware of the power and influence of capital in America and recognized the opportunity I had to start meaningful conversations with CEOs who may be interested in doing the work to advance racial equity,” said Wooden.

“The initiative began with that call to corporate America, specifically the financial services industry, to collectively leverage their resources to address long-standing racial economic disparities in the United States.”

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