Global investment professional association CFA Institute announced today the launch of its new voluntary Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Code for the Investment Profession in the United States and Canada, calling on organizations to commit to a series of principles to improve, track and report on DEI in the investment industry.

According to CFA Institute, the new DEI Code “aims to foster commitment from institutions to DEI action that will lead to greater inclusion of wider viewpoints from the best talent,” resulting in better investment outcomes and working environments. Objectives of the code include defining the current state of DEI in the industry, defining key principles for firms to implement, and providing a metrics-based reporting framework to report on progress.

CFA Institute President and CEO Margaret Franklin, CFA, noted that while the code is being initially rolled out in the US and Canada, the organization aims to expand it to additional markets in the future.

Franklin said:

“To build an industry that is more representative and resilient, far more needs to be done across all aspects of DEI. We recognize that the words diversity, equity, and inclusion mean different things to different people, and each part of the globe may be in a different stage of the DEI effort. We aspire to bring more markets into this work, but we have started in the US and Canada to ground our efforts and to provide us with a path forward.”

Signatories to the voluntary code commit to a series of actions, including providing an adopted DEI policy and statement, establishing senior leadership ownership and an oversight governance process, and developing an implementation plan to integrate DEI within the organization’s people processes and policies within two years of signing on. The code follows a series of key principles for signatories to follow, including expanding the diverse talent pipeline, implementing inclusive and equitable hiring, onboarding, promotion and retention practices, promoting DEI in the investment industry, and measuring and reporting on progress in driving better DEI results in their organizations.

Sarah Maynard, ASIP, Global Head, External Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, CFA Institute said:

“Over successive generations, the investment industry has lacked the knowledge, experience, and, frankly, motivation to build DEI into the framework and culture of organizations. That is now changing. Increasingly, responsibility for DEI is moving to business owners with DEI goals embedded in long-term business strategy. There is no finish line, and effective change will require iterative, continuous improvement with commitment from every individual. It will also require trust, leadership and stringent data handling protocols. Data collection is a tool for greater understanding and wider culture change and is essential to our accountability as DEI Code signatories.”

The code’s principles were developed over two-year period by a DEI Code Working Group, consisting of members of the CFA Institute Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee, DEI practitioners, and investment professionals from organizations such as State Street Global Advisors, CalPERS, Columbia Investment Management Company, and Northern Trust Asset Management, among others.

Franklin added:

“The DEI Code results from industry collaboration that has brought forth strategies that can enable the necessary cultural change within firms. I am immensely grateful to the dedicated efforts of the DEI Working Group members for their leadership in bringing this Code forward for the investment profession.”