Making Diversity Count

Making Diversity Count

February 2021

By Hani Kablawi

Hani Kablawi, Head of International at BNY Mellon, highlights how the investment industry can play a pivotal role in measuring progress on driving diverse workforces as well as how BNY Mellon is leading by example to encourage hiring of more diverse talent across the organization.

The investment industry leads other industries at measuring performance, both financial, like investment portfolio returns, net flows, gross revenues and earnings, and non-financial, like client satisfaction, tech and ops resiliency, and employee engagement scores.

 

Now, investment firms are increasingly aiming for more diverse workforces, and are applying rigour to measuring and tracking their performance in the diversity and inclusion space. A growing weight of evidence supports the business case for a diverse workforce. Employees with diverse backgrounds bring diverse experiences and perspectives, helping create organisations that are more resilient, innovative, profitable. 

 

A 2019 McKinsey report reveals a clear correlation between diversity on executive teams and financial outperformance. It found that top quartile gender diverse executive teams and their companies outperform those in the bottom quartile by 25% in profitability. Similarly, top quartile ethnically diverse executive teams and their companies outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36% in profitability.

 

Driving diversity is not just ‘right’, it is also smart. At BNY Mellon, we have set ourselves clear goals and strategies to drive diversity, and that starts at the very top. The board sets our diversity goals and our CEO cascades those goals and holds us as an executive team accountable to achieve them. If our longer term aspiration is to truly represent the communities in which we operate, all around the world, we set ourselves annual performance goals that get measured and tracked regularly, to make sure we’re keeping our eyes on the ball through hiring, retention and promotion type decisions in the near term. Our executive committee members all sponsor diverse senior employees to make sure we’re constantly and consciously considering diverse talent for senior roles in the company. And we require hiring managers to have diverse candidate slates and diverse interviewing panels for all open positions.

Related Resources

 

U.S. Report

UK Report

“Employees with diverse backgrounds bring diverse experiences and perspectives, helping create organisations that are more resilient, innovative, profitable.”

— Hani Kablawi, Chairman of International at BNY Mellon

As the old adage goes: ‘diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance’. We encourage our teams to join and lead employee resource group activities, and we give them the time, space and tools to work together to drive engagement around causes that are important to them. We ask managers to hold inclusion dialogues, train their teams to identify unconscious bias in themselves and expect all employees to become inclusion allies. Only when everyone feels included, do they belong, and when all 48,000 of our colleagues feel like they belong, that drives positive outcomes for all our stakeholders and for society as a whole.

 

We are on a journey and there is a significant way to go. There remain barriers to attracting diverse talent into an industry that may not be perceived as a viable career option in some communities. As an industry, we need to change that by improving representation and creating more diverse role models in finance and investments.

 

The events of 2020 have highlighted the discrimination and social injustice that we would like to think were a thing of the past but sadly still exists today. But at the start of 2021, I am optimistic about the transformative contribution the investments industry can make to society whilst strengthening themselves with the greater experience, creativity and resiliency that a diverse workforce can bring.

 

This article first appeared on OMFIF.org on Jan. 8, 2021.

Hani Kablawi

Chairman of International