In the past several weeks, we have been reminded that racism and discrimination persist in many forms in our communities. We want there to be no question that as a firm we are committed to ending racism in our communities and creating more opportunities for people of color. We recognize the positive impact businesses can have and the good we can do with and for our many stakeholders when we work together.
We recognize that our approach – to listen, learn, take responsibility and act in accordance with our values – requires commitment. Beyond statements and platitudes is the real work, the real action of our 49,000 associates in support of real progress. Much more work needs to be done. It starts with each one of us.
In that spirit, we share our commitments with you.
- We commit to giving everyone a voice. We will continue to engage in honest dialogue as a tool to create change, through our Courageous Conversations program that began in 2017. In the past two weeks alone, nearly 6,000 Edward Jones colleagues have participated in these conversations, which give everyone an opportunity to share their lived experience, be heard and understood – increasing empathy and understanding for all. In 2020, we further commit to Courageous Conversations and will bring them into our communities. For our associates, we commit to a day of reflection in 2020 to focus on deliberate learning and listening as intentional activity and self-development.
- We commit to a continued focus on equitable hiring, training, promotional practices and policies. Today, 8% of our financial advisors are people of color and 21% are women. In home office senior leadership roles, 9% are people of color and 30% are women. We will work for real change and progress in diverse recruitment, hiring and advancement. We commit to a meaningful increase in diversity among our financial advisors and senior leadership and commit to transparency and accountability by sharing updates with our stakeholders in a new Inclusion and Diversity annual report.
We commit to reviewing all talent processes systemically to identify places where bias may creep in and develop solutions that interrupt bias. We will provide our associates more resources, opportunities and support to break through barriers that they may face. Through tailored programs, mentorship and support that meet our diverse associates where they are, we will provide more opportunities for success.
- We commit to equitable pay. We agree there should not be any disparity in pay based upon race or other characteristics, such as age, gender, sexual orientation. We believe in equal pay for equal work. We will conduct a rigorous analysis in our home offices to assess how associates are compensated and will share results and take any necessary action.
- We commit to racial-equity training and anti-racism personnel policies. We are a learning organization that provides extensive training and education opportunities. We commit to expand our unconscious bias training, which we launched four years ago. It's important to us that we provide education opportunities on inclusive behavior. In addition to training, we will introduce a new year-round program, Inclusion and Diversity 365 to focus on learning opportunities, programs and experiences to foster cultural awareness and empathy. We will strengthen the important community-building work of our 17 Business Resource Groups (BRGs), including Black/African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Women, adaptABILITIES and LGBTQ+ and Allies, among other BRGs.
We do not and will not tolerate racism or discrimination and will continue to take immediate corrective action for any violation of our policies.
- We commit to support organizations and efforts that are important to our clients, associates and communities. We are announcing a $1 million investment in the National Urban League "Fights for You" campaign. The firm will expand its ongoing support of the National Urban League, and the work of its 90 affiliates, that provides economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for people of color and the underserved urban residents in America.
Edward Jones will expand its support to the St. Louis Urban League contributing $200,000 to economic empowerment programs including Save our Sons, established after the unrest in Ferguson in 2014. This program seeks to help economically disadvantaged black men living in the St. Louis region find jobs with the opportunity to earn livable wages.
Our purpose at Edward Jones is to make a meaningful impact in the lives of our clients, their families and our communities. We are responsible for creating our place of belonging. We must take responsibility and act in accordance with our values. This includes doing real work in support of real progress - to positively impact opportunities for people of color in our communities.
Much more work needs to be done. We're prepared for it, and we embrace it.