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Working to Advance Racial Justice 

FINRA categorically rejects racism and discrimination of any kind. In carrying out our mission of investor protection and market integrity, we are committed to pursuing racial justice and equity within our organization, the financial services industry and the communities we serve.  

In 2020, FINRA formed a Racial Justice Task Force—which operated for 18 months—to identify meaningful steps that FINRA can take to advance racial justice, foster greater inclusiveness and eliminate prejudice in all forms.  

The impact of the resulting racial justice work, which FINRA’s Diversity Leadership Council now oversees, is significant. To date, we have fully implemented more than half of the 70 ideas for advancing racial justice—called “seeds for change”—received from across the organization. FINRA remains committed to continuing this work. Below are examples of these efforts and the resulting impact.  

Advancing Racial Justice in Our Communities 

  • FINRA’s Proprietary Investment Program: FINRA's Investment Committee approved the use of diversity and inclusion considerations as an evaluation factor when considering new investment partners for its funds in reserve. In addition, FINRA proactively engages our existing investment partners to measure and promote effective practices from a diversity and inclusion standpoint.  

  • Investor Education and Community Outreach: FINRA created two new positions to provide expertise and programming on an array of personal finance and investor education topics, with an emphasis on communities of diverse cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. These new positions enhance our efforts to educate and empower diverse communities and increase engagement by delivering innovative financial capability programming. 

  • Financial Inclusion: The FINRA Foundation adopted a Financial Inclusion Framework, designed to expand existing research and outreach efforts and expand our efforts to advance financial capability among underserved groups and support racial equity in the communities FINRA serves. The Foundation provides sustainable, long-term partnerships with national and community-based organizations.  

Advancing Racial Justice in Our Industry 

  • Industry Diversity Advisory Committee: FINRA established a new committee dedicated to identifying effective diversity, equity and inclusion practices at financial services organizations and providing guidance to FINRA and its members on enhancing DEI across the financial services industry.  

  • Diversity of FINRA Committees:​​​​​​ We established term limits to provide more frequent opportunities for new perspectives to join FINRA committees and collected baseline demographic information to track diversity of our committee membership. Because our committees serve as a pipeline for Hearing Officer opportunities, these steps also support greater opportunity for diversity on the independent hearing panels that preside over disciplinary and expedited actions commenced by FINRA’s Enforcement Department. 

  • Supplier Diversity: FINRA recognizes the importance of diverse suppliers as an integral part of our strategic sourcing and procurement processes. We established a formal supplier diversity program, including a framework, benchmarks, and standardized processes, and are committed to maximizing diverse suppliers’ participation in our supply chain through the development of mutually beneficial business relationships with these firms.  

  • Building Relationships with Underrepresented Firms: As part of our ongoing commitment to promote inclusion of underserved communities in the financial markets, FINRA partnered with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) to host a four-part series of roundtables to hear directly from minority- and women-owned business enterprises, veteran-owned small businesses, and other underrepresented business enterprises about the unique challenges and opportunities they face. Through this continued partnership, FINRA will synthesize the information gleaned from the series and identify additional actions to pursue. 

Advancing Racial Justice in Our Workplace 

  • Strengthening Our DEI Strategic Framework and Infrastructure: FINRA’s Diversity Leadership Council has implemented several strategic changes to further embed diversity, equity and inclusion into the fabric and business strategy of the organization. These include directly aligning FINRA Management Committee and council members to provide direction and support to each business unit’s DEI efforts—which are operationalized by the business unit’s Inclusion Workstreams—and to oversee implementation of the “seeds for change” ideas put forward by employees to advance racial justice. These steps provide a solid foundation that enables FINRA to continue making progress on racial justice efforts already underway and to respond to emerging needs over the long term.  

  • Enhancing a Culture of Inclusion: FINRA has taken numerous steps to promote a culture of inclusion across the organization, including using survey feedback to develop and implement an action plan for promoting the inclusion of diverse staff, including launching affinity-based professional development programs for women of color leaders at FINRA; supporting employee resource groups, who in turn create professional development opportunities for our workforce; and launching a multicultural awareness program to create opportunities for cultural exchange and expression. 

  • Recruiting New Talent: FINRA continues to identify opportunities to strengthen and ensure equitable access to employment opportunities. For example, the Enforcement Associates Honors Program, which launched in 2021 and is promoted to diverse groups of students, recent law school graduates, and judicial clerks, provides participants the opportunity to join FINRA for full-time positions to develop specialized knowledge of the financial industry and securities laws.  The program has achieved its initial milestones—with participants in the first class concluding their two-year term and preparing to move into more senior roles at FINRA—and is also expanding, with additional cohorts underway.