March 5, 2024

The Changing Face Of DEI On Wall Street: Goldman, Bank Of America, And JP Morgan Revise Programs

Black Professionals

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JP Morgan are among the Wall Street giants that have modified their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

As DEI faces scrutiny and right-wing backlash, with accusations of reverse discrimination, companies are cautiously navigating the landscape to avoid potential legal pitfalls. 

Changes To DEI Programs

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has changed its “Possibilities Summit” from exclusively being for Black college students to opening the program to white students.

According to Bloomberg, lawyers have also advised senior executives to remove references to race and gender in college recruitment programs. They have also been warned against hosting exclusive events for specific demographic groups.

Similarly, JPMorgan’s summer fellowships for Black undergraduate sophomores are now open to all sophomore students “regardless of background.”

Bank of America Corp. programs once aimed at women and minorities are now open to all employees. Nevertheless, Bank of America told Bloomberg that it “has not eliminated any bank-sponsored D&I sponsorship programs.”

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is also rethinking its diversity targets, following legal advice to avoid hard metrics in workforce diversity.

Notable shifts are also seen outside Wall Street, with companies like Zoom Video Communications Inc. and Tesla Inc. modifying their internal DEI teams and public statements about minority workers.

What Are The Implications?

This reassessment isn’t without its implications. 

The involvement of influential figures like Elon Musk and Bill Ackman in the anti-DEI discourse raises concerns about setbacks to the progress made in diversifying the workforce.

According to Bloomberg, Wall Street’s commitment to inclusivity remains publicly affirmed, but the conversation is nuanced and guarded behind closed doors.

Goldman Sachs, for instance, quietly discontinued its diversity investment program after meeting its $1 billion pledge to fund companies led by women and people of color.

The retreat from DEI isn’t just about changing programs or language; it reflects a broader cultural and political shift.

It raises questions about the authenticity of past commitments to inclusivity and puts a spotlight on the delicate balance firms must maintain in an increasingly polarized environment.

As Wall Street grapples with these challenges, the future of DEI initiatives hangs in a precarious balance.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.