Editor’s Note: Luis A. Aguilar
is a Commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This post is based on a statement by Commissioner Aguilar; the full text, including footnotes, is available here
. The views expressed in the post are those of Commissioner Aguilar and do not necessarily reflect those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the other Commissioners, or the Staff.
Recently I have had the privilege to speak at a number of forums to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in corporate America and in government agencies such as the SEC. I strongly believe that regulators and corporate America should reflect the broad range of American society. The following remarks are a compilation of my remarks delivered on (i) March 5, 2012, at the Greenlining Institute’s Diversity Summit in Washington, DC, (ii) March 5, 2013, at the SEC’s Unconscious Bias Training Seminar in Washington DC, (iii) March 16, 2013, at the Renaissance Gathering Dinner in Atlanta, Georgia, and (iv) March 19, 2013, at the Chicago United Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
Diversity at the SEC
Before speaking about the many benefits of diversity and inclusion in Corporate America, I need to be upfront about my agency’s own diversity. For those not familiar with the SEC, let me describe our role. The SEC is the agency responsible for overseeing most of Wall Street and the capital markets. This includes oversight of approximately 35,000 entities, including about 12,600 investment advisers, 9,900 mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs), and over 4,500 broker-dealers with more than 160,000 branch offices. In addition, we have the responsibility for administering a disclosure regime that covers more than 9,100 reporting companies.
When all is said and done, the SEC’s core mission is to protect investors. I strongly believe that a diverse workforce at the SEC is critical in order for the SEC to achieve its core mission; however, and, to put my cards on the table, the SEC has much to do in order for its workforce to reflect the communities we live in. The statistics reflect that 31.6% of the SEC’s workforce was comprised of people of color in 2012, and that just 12.9% were at the senior employee level. The most telling numbers are those relating to our senior officers. As of fiscal year 2012, the SEC’s senior officers were approximately 86.7% white, while 5.5% were African-American, 3.9% Hispanic, and 3.1% Asian-American. The gender breakdown among these officers is 68.8% male and 31.3% female. Clearly these numbers can be improved. Unfortunately, though our lack of diversity is well-known and has been publicly discussed, the SEC’s recent hiring activity has not resulted in much improvement in our numbers. The SEC just hired 567 employees for fiscal year 2012 and the first quarter for fiscal year 2013, and, with respect to the attorneys hired by the SEC, 38.5% were women and only 16.6% were persons of color. We can, and must, do better.
…continue reading: Corporate America and the SEC Should Reflect America