In line with the spirit of inclusion, the Code is open to a variety of stakeholder firms within the investment industry – both small and large firms, including asset owners and asset managers. The working group behind the code, Maynard notes, included representatives from a wide variety of industry subsectors, which was important to ensure how it would be received by all groups.
Institutions seek to issue different versions of the code based on specific regional specifics; For example, the code for the US and Canada includes a requirement for Canadian signatories to implement Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Call to Action #92 and to adopt indigenous reconciliation. But in each case, those who participate in the commitment are expected to accelerate and enhance their commitment by making an economic, commercial and ethical case for DEI.
“Most of the implementation guidance is based on industry-wide research we’ve done with 41 firms over two years, which we put into our accelerated change report,” Maynard says. “All told, data from more than 230,000 employees was captured in that research.”
The research found that there have been some large areas of practice, but efforts have been largely fragmented. While DEI initiatives may traditionally be contained within HR’s silos, Maynard stresses that change should result from small, interactive steps occurring throughout the organization. And even though there have been some structural changes from leaders with increasingly rich DEI expertise to more senior positions, for many the challenge has been around fostering change at the operational level.
Another point to be emphasized in the code, based on research from the same CFA Institute, is the need to recognize individuals who are already within organizations. Historically, industry leadership has been very homogeneous because people from the same group are promoted. By being more deliberate and cautious about being given leadership opportunities, Maynard argues that organizations can manage their talent more efficiently.