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Financial Services Industry in Chicago is So Blindingly White, Firms Have Been Called to a Summit to Increase Diversity

ABS_Federal Reserve Bank of ChicagoThe hiring of Blacks and Hispanics has gotten so pathetic in the financial services industry in Chicago that the industry is holding a summit next week to see if something can be done to improve the numbers.

The invitation-only event is being hosted by the Financial Services Pipeline on Nov. 20 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

More than 90 percent of senior-level staffers at firms in the Chicago area are white, according to a 2012 survey on the Chicago Community Trust website.

Mid-level managers are 74 percent white and the workforce below them is 67 percent white.

A news release from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said representatives of the firms are conducting research to identify challenges and opportunities for increasing the representation of Blacks and Hispanics, identifying effective actions that can be taken to create a more diverse workforce and enhancing financial services executives’ appreciation of the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

The release also says that the consulting firm Mercer will present its findings on the status of Blacks and Latinos employed by the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative member institutions. Mercer will also track the representation of Blacks and Latinos in the financial industry yearly and compare them to the other major U.S. cities.

The keynote speaker of the summit will be Frank Ross, director of the Center for Accounting Education at Howard University.

The summit will include sessions on diversity recruiting, creative ways to fill jobs with diverse talent, cultural competency in the financial sector and supporting early and mid-career people of color.

The Financial Services Pipeline consists of several members including: Ariel Investments, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, CME Group, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Holland Capital Management, Loop Capital, Madison Dearborn, Mesirow Financial, Northern Trust, Urban Partnership Bank, U.S. Bank and Wintrust Financial.

Findings by Mercer will be revealed at the meeting. The group is also developing an index to track minority representation and compare themselves to other major cities.

Co-chairs of the FSP Initiative’s CEO Leadership Council are Monica Walker, CEO and CIO of Equity at Chicago-based Holland Capital Management; Terry Mazany, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust; and Northern Trust Chairman and CEO Frederick H. Waddell.

“Given my personal commitment to diversity and inclusion and to the development of minority professionals, my hope is that this ground-breaking research will be a solid foundation to develop a human capital strategy for the financial sector inclusive of the interests and perspectives of African-Americans and Latinos,” said Walker, who is African-American.

The summit will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 20.

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