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FIA members issue statements and actions to address racism and inequality

Market participants pledge to stand up to systemic racism

17 June 2020

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The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 and the tragic deaths of other African American citizens before him have sparked introspection and calls to fight racism from many of FIA's member firms. There have been a number of significant corporate donations from FIA members, specifically targeting organizations addressing racial injustice and structural inequality, as well as commitments from CEOs to speak up for inclusion within their organization. FIA strives to amplify its members’ voices on the issues that matter. The statements and commitments include:

Bank of America – Bank of America announced that it is making a $1 billion, four-year commitment to help local communities address economic and racial inequality. The programs will be focused on assisting people and communities of color that have experienced a greater impact from the health crisis and builds on economic mobility and workforce development programs it already supports in local markets.

“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” said CEO Brian Moynihan. “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”

BP – BP’s CEO Bernard Looney condemned racial injustice in all forms in a personal note to staff. Looney highlighted a commitment to restarting the global economy in a fairer way, and in a way that is more inclusive, sustainable and resilient– to the root of deep inequities that exist in our society.

“I want to be clear that BP works hard to be a diverse, inclusive, respectful workplace and that we will not tolerate any sort of discrimination or harassment – anywhere,” said Bernard Looney, CEO BP. “If you experience it – call it out. If you see it – call it out. “

Cargill – Cargill released a corporate statement detailing its resolve to “defeat the racial violence, hatred and discrimination that have no place in our world.” The statement points to immediate action it is taking in its communities and within the corporation and highlights its commitment to create “an inclusive culture where our employees feel welcome, valued and heard.”

Citigroup – Mark Mason, Citigroup’s chief financial officer, published a personal essay expressing his “horror, disgust and anger” over the killing of George Floyd.

“Even though I'm the CFO of a global bank, the killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky are reminders of the dangers black Americans like me face in living our daily lives,” Mason said. “Despite the progress the United States has made, black Americans are too often denied basic privileges that others take for granted. I am not talking about the privileges of wealth, education or job opportunities. I'm talking about fundamental human and civil rights and the dignity and respect that comes with them. I'm talking about something as mundane as going for a jog.”

“I'm proud to work at Citi, an organization that cherishes diversity and inclusion and is willing to stand up for those values when they are threatened, whether it's working to close the gender pay gap in our industry or calling out the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville. These systemic problems will not go away until we confront them head on. So we must continue to speak up and speak out whenever we witness hatred, racism or injustice. I know I will – and I hope you will too.”

DTCC – Mike Bodson, DTCC president and CEO said, "As a nation, we need to do better. At DTCC, we will do our part to forge a better future." Keisha Bell, DTCC managing director and head of diverse talent management and advancement, published her personal insights on working in finance as an African American, saying, "real change starts with honest dialogue".

Goldman Sachs - Goldman Sachs announced it has created the Goldman Sachs Fund for Racial Equity to support the vital work of leading organizations addressing racial injustice, structural inequity and economic disparity. The fund was launched with $10 million from Goldman Sachs Gives.

“We must stand up and support organizations dedicated to the fight for a more just and equitable society,” said David Solomon, chairman and CEO. “To honor the legacies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we must all commit to help address the damage of generations of racism.”

HSBC – HSBC issued a statement categorically denouncing discrimination and prejudice in any form.

“…strong communities must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations and it starts right here with us,” said Michael Roberts, president and CEO, HSBC USA. “We can only imagine the pain and injustice felt by our friends in Black/African American communities and sadly, recent events are part of a broader and systemic issue in our country.”

JPMorgan – JPMorgan announced that it is building on existing programs to hire more black students in full-time positions and fellowships. Additionally, it is financing affordable housing in hard-hit cities, supporting minority-owned small businesses, and supporting civil rights organizations and diverse-led nonprofits by committing $1.75 billion through 2023 to create economic opportunity and drive inclusive growth.

“We have a collective responsibility to stand up and take serious action to address centuries of structural racism,” said Jamie Dimon, the bank's chairman and CEO. “We can all do better and do more. Our words and actions matter.”

Michael Brown, managing director at JPMorgan and co-chair of the corporate and investment bank's Leadership Forum, also published a personal essay on his experiences with racism and the importance of open dialogue on this issue.

Morgan Stanley – Morgan Stanley announced a contribution of $5 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to support its work in fighting for racial justice and will match the donations of all U.S. employees to the organization. 

“We hope this contribution and support of Morgan Stanley employees will encourage other corporations to support the LDF at this critical time in our country," said Thomas Nides, the bank's vice chairman. 

RBC – RBC has committed $1.5 million to provide direct support to black youth, the economic development of black communities and social and racial justice reform. 

“We must work harder to stop continued and systemic anti-black racism, and the hate and discrimination that persists. And we must continue to speak up for inclusion. The black community needs our collective voice and action now more than ever,” said Dave McKay, president and CEO, RBC. 

Several FIA member firms, including CME Group, have signed the CEO Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, pledging to act on supporting a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities and society at large.

Meanwhile, four U.S. exchanges held a moment of silence for eight minutes and forty-six seconds on June 9 to coincide with the memorial service and funeral for George Floyd in Houston. The four exchanges were: the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, Cboe Global Markets and IEX.

*This is an incomplete list, but representative of the response from participants in the financial sector and derivatives markets.* 

Please contact FIA if your firm has made a similar statement or is otherwise supporting initiatives designed to address systemic racism and inequality.

FIA can serve an important role by ensuring voices are heard on this issue. As well as highlighting the commitments our member firms make, we are extending an open invitation to market participants to submit an op-ed style article that shares personal reflections or perspectives on ways to create a more inclusive industry. Please contact Jeff Reeves or Kirsten Hyde if you would like to publicly share your thoughts and insights on this issue.

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