FSI partnered with INROADS to address the following industry diversity
The Financial Services Institute unveiled a new partnership with the non-profit organization INROADS to increase mentorship and paid internship opportunities for high school and college age students from underrepresented backgrounds in the financial services sector.
FSI CEO Dale Brown announced the new partnership during the institute’s annual OneVoice conference, which is currently being held in Dallas, Texas. The news came after FSI released the results of a survey conducted in partnership with Broadridge Financial Solutions, which highlighted the low numbers of women and people of color in the ranks of the industry.
Forrest Harper Brown, President and CEO of INROADS joined in to make the announcement. Prior to taking over the leadership at NPO, Harper had a multi-decade career in the corporate world. The organization was founded in 1970, and builds relationships with corporate clients to create a pipeline for students to find internship opportunities.
Brown said the first step was to quickly connect INROADS with member firms and called for early adoption by conference participants (and the institute’s board of directors). After joining the firms, INOADS and those firms will work together in what Brown calls “customized partnerships” to figure out where to hire interns.
“With a track record of 51 years, they know the power to identify ‘what opportunities do those member firms have’ to partner with member firms,” Brown said during a meeting with the media at the conference.
According to Harper, the organization has more than 5,163 diverse students who can start as paid interns as early as this summer, either based in home offices or in the field.
As an example of his work, Harper details a previous partnership with JPMorgan Chase to address modest levels of diversity at Wall Street firms. With funding from Chase, Harper said she coordinated internships for 125 undergraduate students of color, with an 86% job offer rate for those students at postgraduate Wall Street firms.
About working with FSI member firms, Harper said, “We will entertain any partner who offers the opportunity to uncover the talent pool in front of you.”
But the challenge remains widespread, according to data from the FSI/Broadridge report, in which the company asked 4,000 consultants and employees from member firms and received nearly 500 answers at a nearly 1% response rate. Overall, 82% of the respondents were males and 18% were females. Ninety-nine percent of respondents reported as white, compared to 2% Hispanic, 2% African-American and 4% Asian-American.
“We really have a world of financial services and an environment in Main Street that doesn’t look like the society we live in,” Barry said during his conversation with Brown.