Financial companies have looked to increase opportunities for minorities in recent years, but with a perceived bear market on the horizon, many are asking if this support will continue.

Carla Harris, vice chairman of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, spoke on the topic at the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning’s inaugural Diversity Summit in New York stating that  “Diversity and inclusion has been a bull-market phenomenon — when things are going well, we spend lots of money” to recruit and promote women and people of color, she said. “But the minute we hit a bear market environment, it doesn’t go away, but the intensity goes from 10 to 1,” with job cuts hitting less-represented groups hardest.

With “rising U.S. interest rates, escalating U.S.-China trade tensions and geopolitical flareups from Italy to Saudi Arabia” the scene seems to be set for diversity to take a hit.  “In the U.S., less than 3.5 percent of the 80,000 professionals with the certified financial planner designation were black or Latino in 2017, according to a study released Tuesday by the Center for Financial Planning.”
2019 will be a year to watch and see if Wall Street firms turn on their current strategy in an effort to boost short term profits, but only time will tell what the overall outlook will be.

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