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Highlights

During a hearing in 2004 on the financial services industry, congressional members and witnesses expressed concern about the industry's lack of workforce diversity, particularly in key management-level positions. Witnesses stated that financial services firms (e.g., banks and securities firms) had not made sufficient progress in recruiting and promoting minority and women candidates for management-level positions. Concerns were also raised about the ability of minority-owned businesses to raise capital (i.e., debt or equity capital). GAO was asked to provide an overview on the status of diversity in the financial services industry. This report discusses (1) what available data show regarding diversity at the management level in the financial services industry from 1993 through 2004, (2) the types of initiatives that financial firms and related organizations have taken to promote workforce diversity and the challenges involved, and (3) the ability of minority- and women-owned businesses to obtain access to capital in financial markets and initiatives financial institutions have taken to make capital available to these businesses.

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