Dissatisfaction and Discomfort: The Government Accountability Office has urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to improve its workplace culture after a survey found widespread dissatisfaction by female and minority employees. Roughly a quarter of female employees reported experiencing discrimination, compared with less than 11% for men, according to a survey. Additionally at least 24% of Asians, about 27% of African Americans and more than 15% of Hispanics said they had experienced discrimination. Also 27% of respondents, regardless of race and gender, indicated they don't feel comfortable raising concerns.
Wooing Women: It isn't just the robo-advisers that are trying to woo women as clients. Terry Jenkins took over as the chief executive at Key Private Bank last year, and his first initiative was centered around making it more appealing to women. He conducted a customer study that showed husbands and wives — usually treated as separate clients — often approach financial decisions collaboratively. Still, "women tend to believe in the education around how to implement a plan," Jenkins says. "That requires more time spent on the relationship side and understanding what is going on." So Jenkins is training advisers at the Cleveland company to focus more on advice than on products and to be more sensitive--for example, by picking up on body-language cues and asking the right follow-up questions. Currently, 42% of the company's advisers are female, and Jenkins wants to increase that number to better reflect the diversity of its clients. Since a system launched in the fourth quarter of 2015 to convert Key Bank's commercial and retail customers to private banking clients, 47% of its new clients are women. (Beth Mooney, American Banker's Most Powerful Woman in Banking, is the chairman and CEO of KeyCorp.)
Part Human, Part Robot: Wall Street firms are using data analytics to lower the expense of high turnover and find candidates who are a good fit but are getting overlooked by hiring managers. But whether these algorithms will fix the industry's diversity imbalance or reinforce it remains to be seen, especially since fallible humans will be deciding what goes into those algorithms. Currently, there's a tendency at investment banks to focus on a slim selection of schools and established networks when seeking candidates for lucrative jobs — a pipeline that lacks women, racial minorities, and individuals not raised by wealthy families. The investment banks then fulfill diversity quotas by hiring minority and female candidates for less lucrative jobs.
Creating Confidence: In any career, confidence is just as important as competence, yet many highly qualified women are reluctant to step up for new roles, says Racquel Oden, a managing director in Merrill Lynch's New York office. She recommends four practices that help her foster greater confidence: embracing risk, playing to strengths, taking advantage of change and owning and learning from mistakes. The confidence gap between men and women often surfaces in discussions of gender equality in the workplace, especially since a certain hotly-debated feature on the issue emerged two years ago.
Blockchain for Supply Chains: Blythe Masters often describes blockchain technology as revolutionary for financial services firms, but this week she talked up how it has potential applications in other industries as well. "In terms of the audience in this room, probably something that many, if not all, of you have in common is the challenge of supply-chain management or dispute resolution in various business contexts," said the former JPMorgan Chase executive who is now CEO of the blockchain software company Digital Asset Holdings, speaking in front of an audience of chief financial officers. "Those are the types of contexts in which blockchain technology has the greatest potential upside." The technology can help save costs and reduce errors, she said.
JPMorgan Chase has named Lori Beer chief information officer of its corporate and investment bank. She had served as CIO for banking since joining the company in 2014. Before that, she spent 15 years at the health insurance giant Wellpoint.
Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Ohio, has announced that Sandy Pierce will run its private-client group. Pierce, one of our Most Powerful Women in Banking, was previously vice chairman of Akron, Ohio-based FirstMerit, which is being bought by Huntington for roughly $3.4 billion. Pierce was also chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan.
Sorry Not Sorry: Ayesha Curry was roasted last weekend for tweeting that Game 6 of the NBA finals was rigged after her husband, Gold State Warriors hero Steph Curry, fouled out with four minutes left to play. She later deleted the post and explained it was "tweeted in the heat of the moment." Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith said her "zest to speak out" was out of line and called her "adorable." He also compared her to Savannah James, wife of Cleveland Cavaliers' Lebron James, who he said "is something special ... She's wonderful inside and out. She sits there, she doesn't bring any attention to herself. She never tweets and goes out there and calls out the league." Smith's critique ended up drawing its own share of criticism.
Struggle with the Juggle: Most companies probably now recognize the importance of attracting top female talent. But retaining this talent is still a struggle. Companies too often fail to address the challenges of work-life balance that women face. "Regardless of whether it is right or wrong or fair or not, she is likely to take on the lion's share of responsibilities at home," reads an article in CEO Magazine. "But, she won't actually share any of this with you. She will absolutely not let her guard down because she doesn't want to be judged as not coping, as not managing, as not being deserving of her status as talent. The first you will hear about her 'struggle with the juggle' is when she hands in her resignation."