In 2019, FIA unveiled a board-level Diversity Committee and an initiative to address the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry. In 2020, this initiative became an even more important part of our mission, as worldwide protests against racism and systemic inequality focused attention on these critical issues.
FIA’s DEI initiative recognizes that our industry clearly needs increased diversity and opportunity throughout its ranks. Its mission is to foster diversity and inclusion and encourage, support and celebrate the diverse voices both within the association and the industry at large. In 2020, we took steps towards furthering this goal by promoting diversity through communications channels, conference programming, committee participation and workshops.
Internally, FIA created its own Diversity Council to support the association in becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. The Council, which meets weekly, 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 regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical ability.
In 2020, FIA hosted several industry discussions on diversity and inclusion. These included a joint webinar with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on why diversity is important, how to achieve it and what metrics should be used to determine progress.
We also hosted a dedicated panel at our virtual Expo conference that urged derivatives market participants to "double down" on diversity in the wake of the pandemic. The panel featured speakers from our member firms who are driving inclusive culture initiatives related to the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse professionals. In October, our Law & Compliance division hosted an interactive workshop on what inclusivity means for the legal profession and how to become more inclusive.
On our website, we also launched our Diverse Voices series that gives members of our community a chance to share personal stories of challenges and successes in their own words and discuss areas of DEI that need greater focus. A dozen individuals have offered their experiences, and FIA hopes to continue amplifying the voices of others in 2021 and beyond.
Already in 2021, FIA has 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 in ringing the New York Stock Exchange's historic Closing Bell in celebration of Women’s History Month.
As well as providing forums for discussions, FIA continues to endeavor to increase the diversity of speakers and participants at our conferences, reflecting the policies of a growing number of our member firms and other stakeholders. We welcome the support of our industry partners in fulfilling this approach.
In other areas, FIA announced a partnership with 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.
FIA has joined forces with the Greenwood Project to:
FIA is encouraging our members to host a Greenwood Project scholar for a summer internship. These internships can take place all over the world. The Greenwood Project offers a ten-week program where college students train with the Greenwood Project for the first four weeks, then get placed with a firm for six weeks. All students receive training in the futures, options and equities markets. For more information on our partnership and ways to participate, visit: https://www.fia.org/greenwood-project-partnership.
FIA remains committed to addressing the importance of diversity and inclusion in our industry. This year will see a continuation of our efforts to promote diversity through communications, conference programming – including networking groups and roundtable discussions – 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. One good thing to come out of the disruptions of last year is a renewed sense of community in our industry, and we are looking to build on that in 2021.
What project is your organization involved in to promote diversity, inclusion and equality? What topics would you like to see addressed by FIA on this issue? Please contact Kirsten Hyde if you have news on these topics or any other area that you think our members may want to hear about.