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SEC reports on progress in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Securities and Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued its annual progress report on its mission to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility within the agency’s workforce.

The efforts were summarized by the SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Annual Report to Congress. OMWI provides leadership and guidance for the SEC’s diversity and inclusion efforts, while working to maintain a diverse workforce, cultivate an inclusive work environment, and foster diversity in the agency’s business activities.

The report is issued each year pursuant to Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The SEC emphasized several notable highlights from this year’s report.

-Of over 13,500 applications for mission-critical occupations and where applicants self-identified demographic information, 56.6% of those applicants were minorities and 39.2 percent of those applicants were women.

-Of the SEC’s 162 senior officers, 75 are women and 50 are minority reflecting a 13.6 percent relative increase in women and a 31.6 percent relative increase in minorities from Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2023.

-36 percent of the workforce identify as minorities.

-44 percent of the money paid to the pool of socioeconomically identifiable vendors was paid to minority- and women-owned businesses.

“This year, the SEC launched its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023-2026,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “OMWI continues to lead our efforts to develop an inclusive and equitable workplace that reflects the diversity of the public we serve, uses minority- and women-owned businesses in our business operations, and engages our regulated entities.”

The SEC also published a relate report, the 2022 Diversity Assessment Report for Entities Regulated by the SEC.  It analyzes information received from regulated entities in response to OMWI’s 2022 invitation to conduct and submit voluntary self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices.

Among the key points noted in the report were as follows:

-A majority of responses indicate firms’ organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as employment practices to promote workforce diversity and inclusion.

-Few firms indicate business and supplier diversity policies and practices.

-A majority of firms publicize workforce diversity progress, but fewer publicize supplier diversity progress.

-Most firms monitor their diversity progress, but just 33 percent use the Joint Standards and fewer than 40 percent publicize the results of their self-assessments.

The SEC noted, “the vast majority of regulated entities did not submit a self-assessment of their diversity policies and practices. The lack of information on diversity policies and practices for these entities creates a substantial knowledge gap.”  While 1,327 regulated entities were invited to submit a diversity self-assessment only 58 did so, a rate of 7 percent.

The SEC said greater participation is needed in the report process to gain a more comprehensive understanding of practices and policies for workforce and supplier diversity in the financial securities industry.

The attorneys at Lewitas Hyman include former senior attorneys at the SEC whose legal experience and industry knowledge make them uniquely qualified to provide counsel on securities regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters. If your firm is facing an investigation from a regulatory agency, please contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655-6002 or through our online contact form.