Diversity & Inclusion
February 28, 2022
4 mins

Recognizing Black History Month and furthering inclusivity

February 28, 2022
4 mins
Citi Private Bank
SUMMARY

Together with our colleagues and our clients, we remain focused on a more diverse and inclusive future.


In February, we joined our partners across Citi, our clients, and our communities in celebrating Black History Month in the US. Marking this event gives us a vital opportunity to honor the struggles and achievements of the Black community past and present. Just as importantly, it enables us to challenge ourselves to think differently, while envisioning greater progress.

The origins of Black History Month go back to 1926, when noted historian and author Carter G. Woodson initiated the first Black History Week on February 7. Woodson chose the week to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and African American reformer Frederick Douglass, both of whom played prominent roles in abolishing slavery.

It took another half century for the celebration to become what it is today. In February 1976, President Gerald Ford bestowed official recognition of Black History Month, calling upon Americans to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans.

For Citi Private Bank, understanding and saluting the past and present contribution of Black people to society everywhere is fundamental to our global citizenship. We believe passionately in creating a more equitable and inclusive future for all. And we believe that we can help bring this about, both within our organization and the communities we exist to serve.

Striving to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout Citi makes us stronger.

In the US, we have increased Black representation at the Assistant Vice President to Managing Director levels at Citi to 8.1%, up from 6% in 2018. When we include Black colleagues who self-identify as being of two or more races, Black representation increases to 9.1%.

We are proud to celebrate the many individual achievements of our colleagues, such as Mark Mason, former CEO of the Private Bank and now CFO of Citi. Mark is a strategic leader who also serves as co-lead of Citi’s Black Heritage Affinity, a network of our Black colleagues that initiates ideas to help them grow and develop. 

 

 

We believe that a diverse and inclusive team holds the key to our success.

 
Ida Liu
Global Head of Citi Private Bank

While we maintain the conversation continuously, Black History Month provides a particular good opportunity to explore important issues about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Although these can sometimes be difficult and uncomfortable, we know they are essential if we are to drive further positive change.

As Ida Liu, Global Head of Citi Private Bank, puts it, As we celebrate Black History Month this year, we remain candid about the progress that still needs to be made to close the gap and increase Black talent representation. We hold ourselves accountable for creating foundational change. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team holds the key to our success.

With this in mind, our organization has evolved our recruiting initiatives, hiring practices and sourcing of internal talent to expand its pool of candidates. We have also empowered our employee networks and people managers to strengthen our talent pipelines and enhanced our benefits to attract and retain more diverse talent.

An equally powerful element is Citi’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution – an organization that doesn’t just denounce racism but one that acts and advocates for equity. We ingrain this focus into every aspect of our business and it is a critical goal in our Action for Racial Equity initiative – Citi’s commitment of over $1 billion to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the US.

Citi Global Wealth Investments continues to embed DEI into our business strategy, including our goal to onboard 5 to 15 diverse fund managers to our platform. We also anticipate that more than $200 million of client capital will be invested into these funds by the end of 2023.

By identifying and onboarding diverse managers and those investing in companies managed by diverse owners, we can help close the racial and gender wealth gap in the industry,says David Bailin, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Citi Global Wealth Investments. Collectively, these new actions reflect our values and commitment to play our part.

Additionally, across the firm we are taking other important steps to become an anti-racist institution, including our recent commitment to conduct a racial equity audit, as well as our participation in the Management Leadership for Tomorrow Black Equity at Work certification.

We need to lead with inclusivity to quote Citi Managing Director Bola Oyesanya, who has spent over two decades in the private banking industry and has held numerous roles at Citi. My hope is that we’ll continue empowering each other to speak up and keep creating allies. To help make the journey fair and just for everyone, we must stand together and respect all views while working to create an equitable future.

We're proud to restate Citi’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and look forward to our continued collaboration with our colleagues, our communities and our clients, not just during Black History Month, but every month.

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