BlackRock Inc. is breaking ranks with peers on Wall Street by doing a deep dive into its business to see how it may contribute to racial inequities in the financial system. The world’s largest money manager plans to undergo an independent racial audit of its operations, following a request from a shareholder. Companies including Airbnb Inc. and Facebook Inc. have taken similar steps in the past few years.
The calls for racial audits have emerged since last year’s social injustice protests in the U.S. and President Joe Biden’s recent signing of an executive order to advance equality. The audits are conducted by third-party groups, which analyze companies’ business models — from policies to products and services — to determine whether they cause, reinforce or perpetuate discrimination.
The investors that filed resolutions for BlackRock and other financial-services companies — Service Employees International Union and CtW Investment Group — said the industry has played a key role in perpetuating the racial wealth gap.
BlackRock, with $8.7 trillion of assets under management, said in a memo to employees Thursday that an external review of how its diversity, equity and inclusion policies impact stakeholders will provide useful feedback to assess its progress. The New York-based firm said it will start the audit in 2022.
Source: BNN Bloomberg
By Saijel Kishan
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