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 U.S. 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 date 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.
However, 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 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. It is why we renewed our diversity goals in September 2022. We seek to increase the proportion of Black employees in North America in the Associate Vice President (AVP) to Managing Director (MD) ranks to 11.5% by 2025, from the current level of 8.1%.
In the UK, our aspiration is to have a Black workforce representation of 3% over same period. Additionally, in Brazil, we aspire to have a 10% Black and Mixed-Heritage workforce representation by 2025. We also reaffirmed our commitment to hiring college students from underrepresented communities in North America, Brazil and the UK, and investing in their careers.
We are proud to celebrate the many individual achievements of our colleagues, such as Mark Mason, former CEO of the Citi 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 continue to hold ourselves accountable for creating foundational change and are committed to cultivating diverse, inclusive teams, which are essential to our success.
While we maintain the conversation continuously, Black History Month provides a great 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, “In recognizing and celebrating Black History Month in 2023, we remain candid about the progress that is needed to close the gap and increase Black talent representation. We continue to hold ourselves accountable for creating foundational change and are committed to cultivating diverse, inclusive teams, which are essential to our success.”
With this in mind, Citi Private Bank has evolved its 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 not only denounces racism but 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 more than $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.”
Furthermore, across the firm we are taking additional steps to become an anti-racist institution, including our commitment to conduct a racial equity audit, as well as our participation in the Management Leadership for Tomorrow Black Equity at Work certification.
“Leading with diversity is paramount,” according to Citi Managing Director Bola Oyesanya, who has spent more than two decades in the private banking industry and held numerous roles at Citi. “Let’s continue to empower one another to speak up and keep creating allies. In order to create a more equitable future, we must stand united in this effort.”
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.