Opening Remarks to the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Sept. 15, 2022
Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome you to today’s event with the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP). My thanks to Sandra Yamate and the entire IILP team for the invitation to participate in this important event.
As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own, and I am not speaking on behalf of my fellow Commissioners or Securities and Exchange Commission staff.
To me, the mission of the SEC relates directly to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We work every day to protect investors and facilitate capital formation across the spectrum of communities that make America strong, including underserved communities. With respect to the middle part of our mission—to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets—fairness literally is embedded in our mission.
In promoting fairness and efficiency, it is important that access to our more than $100 trillion capital markets is inclusive. It means that brokers and investment advisers provide services fairly and equitably. It means that entrepreneurs and companies of every size can tap into our capital markets to fund their ideas and innovations. It means that investors have access to the fair, full, and material information that they need to make informed investing decisions.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important not only to our agency’s mission but also to our agency’s makeup. The most important asset at the SEC is our remarkable staff. In recent years, we have made important gains to help ensure that the agency is a place where everyone on the staff can bring their whole selves to work, make their mark in public service, and rise in the profession, including into senior leadership.
We strive to be a model workplace at the SEC. That means tapping into the commitment of talented individuals of every background. We are dedicated to serving the American public, and we enhance that service when we draw upon every community across our nation.
Building upon earlier efforts, we have made progress with respect to diversity and representation among our senior management, advisory committees, and our Commissioners. We continue to implement our first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, which the SEC published in 2020. In the near future, we will begin the planning process for the next Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023-2025.
We want to make sure that career opportunities like internships are accessible for all. Therefore, we launched a paid internship program, and we have made efforts to ensure that these internships are available to all interested students, including those from underserved communities. We also have enhanced our inclusion-focused efforts regarding our recruiting and financial education programming.
Furthermore, we continue our ongoing work with regulated entities through the Diversity Assessment Report process, through which entities voluntarily provide self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices.
I am proud of the progress we have made. I am also proud that, in recent years, including this year, our staff has rated the SEC among the best places to work in the federal government. We have more work to do, and I look forward to working across the agency to advance these goals.
Throughout all of our work, we benefit from public engagement and public comment, including through venues and conversations like today’s concerning the legal profession. I wish you a productive and thoughtful roundtable discussion.