Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is Still in FinServ Infancy


Recorded at the Market Counsel Summit. Presented by: 

Advisorpedia interviewed Gurinder Ahluwalia - Vice Chairman of InspereX and Lead Director of the Highthower Board of Directors - at the MarketCounsel Summit in December, 2021.

"I think diversity, equity and inclusion more broadly than in financial services is a topic that is in the infancy. Still, it's something that's been in the early stages for my whole career candidly, and I think we can do a lot more. And I think we are having the dialogue, and we're trying to do more to improve on diversity, equity inclusion, I think there are a lot of steps one can take. So it's really picking from a menu. And I think the most important thing is it has to be authentic for a firm.

So firms need to assess where they're at, on this journey, and decide what's most important to them. And what connects with who they are, what their demographic of their client is, and their employee base. And what do they want to be long term? Where do they want to go? What do they want it to look like? Because in certain cases, you might have a diverse employee base, then it's around development, coaching, mentorship, Ally, ship, things like that.

If you're trying to do your earliest recruits, then it's around making your employee base aware of other pockets of recruiting opportunities, certain college campuses, and other venues that you might not have attended previously. So I think firms have to really look at where they're at, in their journey.

And probably the second most, or you could flip it and say this is most is why are you doing it, you have to have your own reason of why you want to increase inclusion, or diversity within your organization, you have to answer that first.

I think there are companies that are making good strides. I think at the same time I look at, you know, Maxine Waters came out December 6, two days ago with a report on financial services. Why did she do that? Because almost two years ago, when George Floyd was murdered, a lot of financial services companies came out with these proclamations, letters of intent and things that they were going to do to sort of change the drumbeat. And so her question is, is, this is something we want to hold these firms accountable to?

Now I don't want to get into regulatory stuff because then policymaking that's not my thing. But if you're going to say something, you got to do something, there's a say do ratio that has to be consistent. So I would say the first thing that some of these organizations need to do is look at what they've said and declared that they're willing to do and then measure themselves against that in an honest way.

As far as best practices, I think that's a to pick one firm for me. It's tough because I think many firms have neat ideas that they're incubating. But we're in the earliest of innings."

Resources: InspereX | FP Transitions 

Related: The Challenge Advisors Have in Creating Their Vision