Fidelity Investments: A New Year, An Opportunity for Change

by Savoy Staff

By Wendy John, Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Fidelity Investments

The last year has been unlike any other year in recent time. A global pandemic disrupted our lives and the economy, created financial hardship for many, and disproportionately resulted in loss of lives amongst the elderly and more diverse communities. At the same time, the United States continues to wrestle with issues of social justice and racial equality as awareness grows around the opportunity and wealth gaps. These events implored everyone, including large organizations like Fidelity Investments, to reflect on the role we play in making the world a better, more inclusive, and respectful place.

On a personal note, I stepped into the leadership role for our firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts last summer. With over 20 years of experience working with our clients and helping to build a sense of community internally through our affinity groups, it is great to harness the collective enthusiasm of my colleagues to embrace the diversity of our experiences and improve equality and inclusion for all.

Within the financial services industry, our customers—including the 32 million people and 35,000 businesses and institutions that Fidelity serves—are becoming increasingly diverse. We know that diverse perspectives are critical to best serving our customers and creating relevant products and services. Like many other companies, we started the new year with renewed clarity of the opportunity to truly create change for underserved people, clients, and communities. There are three areas where we see an opportunity for change.

The first is diversifying our workforce – this is more than an opportunity, it is a priority in the year ahead.  The financial services industry has long struggled to significantly change its gender and ethnic makeup.  To do this, we are reengineering the way we hire, spanning from the recruiting process to interviewing and onboarding protocols. This includes implementing diverse interview panels and ensuring job descriptions do not contain biased language. And even earlier on, programs like Fidelity’s Diverse Investor Student Experience internship program and Boundless help underrepresented talent, including young women, learn about the career opportunities within our industry.

The second area is advancing underrepresented talent into leadership roles. Closing the opportunity gap cannot be achieved through recruiting new talent alone. More must be done to remove advancement barriers and focus on creating bespoke programs designed for each company’s culture that give underserved talent the support they need to build dynamic, thriving careers at senior levels. At Fidelity, we have found success in a tandem-learning approach where we engage both Black employees and their managers over a three-month period. We plan to triple the size of this program this year.

Last year also put a finer point on the responsibility we all have to do more to address the systemic issues in our communities that drive inequalities. Fidelity is working to drive positive change, leveraging our purchasing power to procure goods and services from women- and minority-owned companies and matching our employees’ donations to causes fighting for racial equity. As we evaluate our community impact, we started by listening to our nonprofit partners, especially those engaged in the work of social justice and racial equality, in order to pivot our community outreach efforts to focus on closing the digital divide for underserved students and communities. One of our new partnerships will support the distribution of one million connected devices to underrepresented students by the end of 2021.

The events of this past year have created a sense of urgency for all of us to make our world more inclusive. We are having courageous conversations that many have avoided at work (and in their personal lives) for decades. We are far from done. Fidelity—and I—remain optimistic that the resolve we saw for change over the last year will continue and result in long-term, meaningful progress in advancing equity for all.



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