Despite years of new policies and plans to increase diversity at banks and financial firms, the lack of ethnic minorities, women and other underrepresented groups on boards and in management positions remains a major issue for the industry.
The finance industry is, in fact, one of the least diverse in the country. A recent report by the Committee for Better Banks found that Black and Latino employees had a less than 25% chance of being promoted or hired for a senior management or executive position, compared with their white peers. A study by the House financial services committee found that women in banking made up less than 33% of the executive and senior level workforce despite representing 51% of the population.
But real change might finally be on the way.
The New York state Department of Financial Services is stepping up oversight of diversity and inclusion in the banking and finance industries. It is requiring banks and other financial institutions with more than $100 million in assets to provide data on the gender, racial and ethnic composition of their boards and senior management teams. The data is expected to be published on an aggregate basis this year.
In other efforts, new listing rules are in place in connection with board and management diversity disclosures by public companies. The rules are likely to pressure the industry to improve.
Some financial institutions are addressing the issue at the ground level, with programs to help minorities enter the field. The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College recently announced a $300,000 initiative with Santander Bank to create a boot camp and fellows program to prepare students for careers in finance.
Crain’s now is launching its first list of Notable Diverse Leaders in Banking and Finance. The 52 executives on these pages span a range of ethnicities and gender and sexual orientations. Each honoree is a key player in initiatives to modernize their industry.
To choose the honorees, Crain’s consulted with trusted sources in the city’s business world. Nominations, submitted by individuals and companies, were then vetted. Ultimately, the honorees were picked for their career accomplishments as well as their broader community involvement.
Read on to discover how their individual experiences came to spell success.
METHODOLOGY: The honorees did not pay to be included. Their profiles were drawn from submitted nomination materials. This list is not comprehensive; it includes only executives for whom nominations were submitted and accepted after an editorial review. To qualify for the list, honorees had to self-identify as individuals representing diversity in the workplace within New York City or the surrounding counties, and they had to have been employed for at least 10 years at a banking or financial institution (brokerage, asset manager, insurance company, venture-capital firm and the like). They had to show accomplishment in their field and the ability to effect change in their area of practice or within their community.