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Racial Justice Task Force

Racial Justice

Working to Advance Racial Justice

FINRA categorically rejects racism and discrimination of any kind. Learn how we’re taking action to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within our organization, our industry and in our communities.

FINRA’s mission is investor protection and market integrity. As a public-service organization, we seek to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace and are committed to standing against racism—but there is still much work to be done.

In July 2020, FINRA formed a Racial Justice Task Force to identify steps FINRA can take to advance racial justice, continue to foster greater inclusiveness and eliminate prejudice within our organization, our communities and the securities industry. This page will provide updates about this work and our commitment to action, building on more than a decade of diversity and inclusion programming and initiatives at FINRA.

FINRA categorically rejects racism and discrimination of any kind. Learn how we’re taking action to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within our organization, our industry and in our communities.

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About the Racial Justice Task Force

The Racial Justice Task Force is comprised of a diverse group of employees united in their goal to achieve meaningful, sustained progress in the fight against racism and prejudice within our organization, the securities industry and our communities.

Our Charge

FINRA’s Racial Justice Task Force is building an action plan aligned with three goals identified in June 2020 by our Board of Governors :

  • further enhance FINRA’s longstanding initiatives to pursue its mission with a diverse and inclusive workforce that represents all of society;
  • expand our efforts to promote the financial capability of minority communities; and
  • work collaboratively to promote greater diversity and inclusion across the industry, with the goal of better engaging traditionally underinvested communities and representing the needs of all investors.

Our Focus

In addition, more than 60 employees at various levels and from different business units across FINRA are advancing this effort, organized into three distinct workstreams:

  • Workforce – drive a culture of inclusion at FINRA and strive for diverse representation at all levels of our workforce.
  • Industry – increase opportunities for meaningful engagement of people of color in all aspects of FINRA’s governance and the financial services industry.
  • Community – empower communities of color to fully participate in financial markets and enhance financial capability through collaborative work with other regulators and influencers/external stakeholders.

Our Progress

Since forming the Racial Justice Task Force in July 2020, we have made progress toward our goal to help FINRA advance racial justice within our workforce, industry and community. Drawing from feedback received from across the organization, the Task Force is analyzing multiple ideas—also known as “seeds for change”—as part of its action plan, including:

  • creating professional development opportunities for all employees;
  • eliminating barriers to advancement for minority employees;
  • strengthening our diverse representation across various communications platforms; and
  • enhancing our investor education outreach to individuals from underprivileged, underserved or minority communities.

One Year Later and Beyond

Learn more about our progress as Racial Justice Task Force Co-chairs Marcia Asquith and Rainia Washington share thoughts on their personal experiences, FINRA’s efforts thus far and the work that lies ahead.

Action items the Task Force has implemented and/or helped move forward to date include:

  • Diversity Advisory Committee: During FINRA’s July 2021 Board meeting, the Board approved the establishment of a formal Industry Diversity Advisory Committee. Once formed, the committee will comprise 10 – 14 industry and non-industry members responsible for providing guidance to FINRA and its members on enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the financial services industry in support of FINRA’s commitment to mitigate the lack of full participation of underrepresented groups in the financial markets and industry.
  • Financial Inclusion: The FINRA Foundation adopted a Financial Inclusion Framework, designed to expand existing research and outreach efforts and to undertake new workstreams aimed at advancing financial capability among underserved groups and support racial equity in the communities FINRA serves. Once implemented, the Framework will provide sustainable, long-term partnerships with national and community-based organizations that demonstrate FINRA’s commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen with targeted programmatic investments.
  • Juneteenth: FINRA has made a commitment to observe and increase employee understanding of Juneteenth.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Request for Comment: FINRA is committed to supporting efforts by broker-dealer industry participants to foster diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. On April 29, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 21-17 , seeking comment on any aspects of our rules, operations and administrative processes that may create unintended barriers to greater diversity and inclusion in the broker-dealer industry or that might have unintended disparate impacts on those within the industry.
  • Diversity Training : In addition to offering ongoing Diversity and Inclusion education and programming, FINRA conducts mandatory Diversity Training for its employees. In an effort to be more inclusive, FINRA continues to review its training courses—starting with its Annual Code of Conduct training—to ensure the courses include diverse names and characters who better represent our FINRA workforce.
  • Enforcement Associates Honors Program : Launched in January 2021, and marketed to diverse groups of students and clerks, this program provides third-year law students and attorneys concluding judicial clerkships the opportunity to join FINRA in a full-time capacity and develop specialized knowledge of the financial industry and securities laws by working with various groups across FINRA’s Enforcement team. Honors Associates gain substantive legal experience, participate in a robust training and mentorship program, and grow a professional network through meaningful opportunities to collaborate.
  • Community Outreach : In the Fall of 2020, we funded the creation of a new position to enhance our efforts to educate and empower diverse communities and increase engagement by delivering innovative financial capability programming.
  • Election Leave : In October 2020, we updated FINRA's election leave policy to waive the two-hour limit for employees on in-person voting leave during regularly scheduled work hours. This is a permanent change to FINRA’s policy and applies to in-person voting in all federal, state or local primary and general elections.

Our Broader Response

Read what our leaders are saying and learn about larger strategic actions FINRA is taking in support of racial justice.

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

Learn more about what we are doing to create an inclusive culture where employees can thrive and achieve their highest potential.