In 2017 we upgraded the firm’s website and I recall our marketing team and IT vendor being very excited. The update was more functional, graphics looked great, and we were told the improved website was likely to win an award (it did). I too was excited and remember displaying the site to my wife with a sense of pride; however, my bubble soon burst when she said something like: “Looks great… but why are there so many white males?” That was when it struck me that a good heart is not enough when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Leaders at the firm had good intentions, but we lacked intentionality and a plan for success. Nearly immediately, we initiated a journey that began with obtaining awareness and better understanding. From workshops with outside experts, to unconscious bias training, to expanding our hiring networks and more, we started to align our actions with our hearts. Doing so led to a strong belief that a diverse workforce where colleagues share a sense of equity and belonging is not only proper, but it also leads to better outcomes.
Over the years, we have continued to refine and improve our approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI&B). While Fiducient Advisors and our entire industry certainly have room for improvement, Fiducient Advisors continues to progress. I am pleased to summarize our efforts below, which include a very recent development.
In June, Fiducient Advisors adopted the voluntary CFA Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Code for Investment Professionals (“DEI Code”). Launched in February 2022, the DEI Code provides investment industry organizations with an action-oriented and principles-based framework through which to drive measurable and meaningful change concerning diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations.
This recent initiative is but one important component of a much broader commitment at Fiducient Advisors. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging is important to us. We desire to do our part by providing a sense of inclusion and by advancing Fiducient Advisors to look more like the clients and communities we serve. As such, we strive to weave our “Three Pillars” of DEI&B into the fabric of everything we do.
While change may begin with having an appropriate mindset, transformation requires intentionality and persistence. Fiducient’s approach incorporates both internal and external practices.
The First Pillar: Culture & Colleagues
We have a visible DEI&B Steering Committee, with a mission of shaping and influencing policies and practices throughout the firm, along with promoting a diverse and welcoming workplace. For 2022, we continued our required training with live workshops on Facilitating Inclusive Meetings. We created a new Diversity & Heritage Calendar, around which we recognize and celebrate diversity within our firm. We also imbed DEI&B into our hiring practices, utilizing specialized agencies and organizations including The Mom Project, National Black MBA Association, Year Up and others. Last year approximately two-thirds of new hires were women and/or persons of color. In addition, 80 percent of senior leadership hires over the past two years have been female and/or diverse.
The Second Pillar: Investment Work & Influence
With more than $260 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021, Fiducient Advisors carries significant influence. We strive to use our place to promote positive change wherever possible. Fiducient Advisors is a pioneer member of the Institutional Investing Diversity Cooperative (IIDC) – its mission to promote the transparency of diversity reporting in the investment management industry. Furthermore, we have refined our investment manager research process over the years to incorporate DE&I in our due diligence. Our research professionals compile DE&I data on hundreds of investment managers, providing valuable input to clients as they allocate assets. In evaluating investment managers, we strive to be both accurate and fair. Metrics matter, as do attitude and exhibited progress.
The Third Pillar: Efforts & Outreach
We are proud that many of our colleagues sit on nonprofit boards and committees and volunteer their time and talent in the communities we serve. We have a dedicated Engagement Committee which oversees quarterly service projects that align with our DE&I initiatives. We seek to play a very active role in cultivating young, diverse talent and the inTURNship program we created summer of 2020 underscores our commitment. We launched the inTURNship program during a very dark and uncertain time, especially for rising college seniors. The inTURNship program introduces a broad and diverse group of talented young adults to our firm and industry. In 2020 and 2021, we had a total of 140 inTURNs complete the program, with approximately 70 percent being from underrepresented groups (those who identify as female, non-white and/or disabled).
Elevated intentionality and continuous commitment
We have learned quite a bit since expanding our awareness and increasing our intentionality, and we are proud of our progress. That said, we know there is much more to accomplish, and we remain committed to making a positive impact in our workplace and beyond. As always, please feel free to reach out to any of the professionals at Fiducient Advisors and I encourage you to access the useful resources below.
The information contained herein is confidential and the dissemination or distribution to any other person without the prior approval of Fiducient Advisors is strictly prohibited. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, though not independently verified. Any forecasts are hypothetical and represent future expectations and not actual return volatilities and correlations will differ from forecasts. This report does not represent a specific investment recommendation. The opinions and analysis expressed herein are based on Fiducient Advisor research and professional experience and are expressed as of the date of this report. Please consult with your advisor, attorney and accountant, as appropriate, regarding specific advice. Past performance does not indicate future performance and there is risk of loss.