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Highlights

A July 2004 congressional hearing raised concerns about the lack of diversity in the financial services industry, particularly in key management positions. Some witnesses noted that these firms (e.g., banks and securities firms) had not made sufficient progress in recruiting minorities and women at the management level. Others raised concerns about the ability of minority-owned businesses to raise debt and equity capital. At the request of the House Financial Services Committee, GAO was asked to provide a report on overall trends in management-level diversity and diversity initiatives from 1993 through 2004. This testimony discusses that report and focuses on (1) what the available data show about diversity at the management level, (2) the types of initiatives that the financial services industry has taken to promote workforce diversity and the challenges involved, and (3) the ability of minority- and women-owned businesses to obtain capital and initiatives financial institutions have taken to make capital available to these businesses. For our analysis, we analyzed data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); reviewed select studies; and interviewed officials from financial services firms, trade organizations, and federal agencies. GAO makes no recommendations at this time.

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