FIA strongly believes in the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and works to support and celebrate the diverse voices both within the association and the derivatives industry at large.
In 2019, we created a board-level Diversity Committee comprised of senior representatives from FIA member firms and FIA senior staff to consider practical steps to foster a culture of inclusion in the industry. Collectively, this group ensures the topic of DEI stays on the agenda across FIA events and board discussions.
In 2020, our DEI initiative became an even more important part of our mission, as worldwide protests against racism and systemic inequality focused attention on these crucial issues. Among several initiatives, we launched our Diverse Voices series, giving members of our community a platform to share personal stories of challenges and successes in their own words and to discuss areas of DEI that need greater focus. Internally, FIA created a Diversity Council to support the association in becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. The Council meets weekly and has joint accountability with FIA senior managers to foster a work environment that celebrates all points of view by promoting inclusiveness, social justice and respect for all employees.
In 2021, FIA continued its mission to highlight diversity issues in webinars, conference programming and through our communications channels, including MarketVoice articles and FIA Speaks podcast interviews. We have also used our platform to support and promote the work of The Greenwood Project and raised funds for other organizations that promote diversity in our industry.
Promoting diversity across channels
In 2021, FIA featured dedicated panel discussions on diversity and inclusion at our major conferences. At our in-person IDX conference in London, we hosted a discussion that looked at how the financial industry is doing in improving representation of diverse members of the community. Moderated by DEI champion Julia Streets, founder and host of the DiverCity Podcast, representatives from a range of diversity groups discussed where we are and what will lead to meaningful change. Socio-economic diversity, which has largely been conspicuous for its absence in many firms' diversity and inclusion strategies, featured prominently in the discussion.
FIA's Law & Compliance Division also put together a workshop on Calling Out Microaggressions in the Workplace at the L&C-V Conference. The Center for Anti-Violence Education led the discussion on everyday workplace interactions that are experienced as microaggressions and provided participants with actionable tools to help build more equitable and inclusive relationships across their organizations.
At FIA Expo, The Greenwood Project co-founder Bevon Joseph took to the stage with two alumni of the program to discuss systemic barriers to entry for people of color in the financial services industry. He also explained how the Greenwood Project helps talented students overcome these obstacles. The students talked about their internships, which have led to full-time employment at FIA member firms. In a separate session hosted by Women in Listed Derivatives, Karey Baum, founder of Pegasus Commodities, and Liz Cook, a member of the CME board of directors, discussed opportunities and challenges for women-run businesses.
On our website, we have published numerous articles on MarketVoice about diversity issues, ranging from initiatives our member firms are undertaking, to opinion pieces and news stories on the latest industry diversity reports. We also highlighted Black individuals who have paved the way in the US financial services industry to mark Black History Month, women who have put their stamp on our industry for International Women’s Day, and joined Women in Derivatives (WIND) as they rang the New York Stock Exchange's historic Closing Bell in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Our FIA Speaks podcasts also feature conversations with The Greenwood Project founders Elois and Bevon Joseph, derivatives legend Larry Thompson and former Innovate Finance CEO Charlotte Crosswell about bringing greater diversity to the financial services industry.
Conferences and events
As well as providing forums for discussions, we continue to endeavour to increase the diversity of speakers and participants at our conferences, reflecting the policies of a growing number of our member firms.
This year’s percentages of women speakers were as follows:
- Boca: 33%
- L&C: 41%
- FIA/SIFMA AMG Asset Management Derivatives Forum: 27%
- IDX: 27%
- Expo: 35%
- FIA Asia: 32%
Our aim is to have at least 30% diverse speakers at all our conferences and to host panels that include at least one woman or other diverse speaker. While this is not always easy, where we do have more influence on the profile of speakers is in the area of keynotes. We are particularly proud of the diversity of keynote speakers FIA has featured in 2021:
- Rana Foroohar, Global Economic Analyst and Financial Times Columnist
- Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and former Space Science Education Lead at NASA
- Preet Bharara, host of Stay Tuned with Preet and Former US Attorney, Southern District of New York
- Rostin Behnam, Acting Chairman, CFTC
- Natasha Cazenave, Executive Director of ESMA
- Chuka Umunna, Managing Director and Head of EMEA ESG, JP Morgan
- Dawn DeBerry Stump, Commissioner, CFTC
- Clarissa Ward, chief international correspondent, CNN
The Greenwood Project partnership
FIA is a proud supporter of The Greenwood Project, a non-profit organization focused on introducing Black and Latinx students to careers within the financial industry via paid summer internships in financial firms, academic instruction and mentorships. To date, The Greenwood Project has placed 470 interns in 36 companies around the world. Many of these interns go on to full time jobs in financial services companies.
At our annual Boca conference this year, FIA announced a partnership with The Greenwood Project to facilitate summer internships with our member companies.
Our 2021 participating member firms are:
- ABN AMRO Clearing
- Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
- Goldman Sachs & Co.
- Marex Spectron
- Mizuho Securities USA
- Morgan Stanley
- Cboe Global Markets
- CME Group
- DRW Holdings
- The Options Clearing Corporation – OCC
FIA also hosted US Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, for a "lunch and learn" conversation with students on The Greenwood Project program. Chairman Scott reflected on his life journey, from growing up on a family farm in rural South Carolina during segregation, to going into politics to serve his community.
The FIA Operations Americas Golf Outing, which took place for the first time this summer since the pandemic began, raised $30,000 for local charities including The Greenwood Project.
FIA's virtual Law & Compliance Division Conference also raised funds for Breakthrough New York, a non-profit organization that works to transform the lives of children from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. L&C-V attendees donated throughout the conference to help provide programming and support to students.
FIA Diversity Council
The mission of FIA's in-house Diversity Council is to serve as an advisor to senior leadership and recommend short and long-term priority actions and strategies for FIA to further a culture of inclusion and belonging for all its staff.
One of the Council's first short-term goals was to enhance training and increase opportunities for staff dialogue. This year, staff have attended workshops on allyship, anti-racism and Black contributions to UK history during Black History Month UK, among other topics. FIA also designated Juneteenth (19 June), an annual commemoration of the effective end of slavery in the United States, as a company holiday for all staff in its US offices.
In other areas, FIA is looking at its own suppliers and contractors and asking them to share their DEI policies. Our goal is to provide access and opportunities for diverse vendors and suppliers and to broaden the supply chain that reflect our DEI values.
FIA remains committed to addressing the importance of diversity and inclusion in our industry. 2022 will see a continuation of our efforts to promote diversity through communications, conference programming and other channels. We believe it is important to work in partnership with the industry broadly and our members in particular to identify practical steps that can be taken to further this initiative. We look forward to building on this in 2022.
We want to hear from you
What is your organization doing in terms of diversity and inclusion? How can FIA partner with such programs or other existing networks to provide meaningful support? What topics would you like to see addressed by FIA on this issue? Please contact Kirsten Hyde with your suggestions.
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