FSP Overview

Increasing Representation in Chicago’s Financial Services Sector

The two key goals of the FSP Initiative are:

  • Increasing the representation of Latinos and African-Americans, at all levels, within the Chicago area financial services industry
  • Improving the overall cultural competency within the Chicago area financial services industry

The Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) Initiative was formed in 2013 by a group of Chicago-based financial institutions and The Chicago Community Trust (CCT) after recognizing the lack of diversity’s negative impact on regional competitiveness and equity, organizational cultures, and firms’ “bottom lines” within the Chicago-area financial services sector. Founding members of the FSP include:

  • Ariel Investments
  • BMO Financial Group
  • the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (FRBC)
  • Holland Capital Management
  • Loop Capital
  • Northern Trust
  • Urban Partnership Bank

Since then, a number of financial institutions (hyperlink to About Us: Members) central to Chicago’s financial and civic life have joined the ranks. Today, these members represent collectively more than 30,000 leaders and professionals in Chicagoland’s financial industry – close to 50 percent of the total industry population.

FSP is governed by a CEO Leadership Council and Steering Committee.

Representation Data | Population vs. Job Categories

Low representation of African-Americans and Latinos is a major challenge throughout the U.S. financial services industry, but is especially evident in the Chicago metropolitan area. While the 2013 U.S. Census estimates show significant diversity in the overall population, 2013 data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shows a financial services workforce that is not reflective of this diversity. The differences in representation are even more acute at the highest levels of financial organizations (C-suites), according to data from the EEOC. The chart on this page details these observations by offering a comparison of ethnic representation for the Chicago metro area, its financial services sector, and three key job categories within it. i

Chicago metropolitan area racial and ethnic representation: Total population vs. financial services industry and selected EEOC job categories (2013)

The representation of African-Americans and Latinos in the financial sectors has remained stagnant since 2009 in the Chicago area despite all the Diversity & Inclusion efforts that financial services firms have individually undertaken. Recognizing that this lack of diversity has a negative impact on the competitiveness and equity of the Chicago region, and on the organizational cultures and financial firms’ “bottom lines,” a group of Chicago-based financial institutions joined forces with The Chicago Community Trust—the region’s community foundation—to form the Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) Initiative in 2013. Today, the FSP Initiative members represent collectively more than 30,000 leaders and professionals in Chicagoland’s financial industry – close to 50 percent of the total Chicagoland financial industry population.

Two key goals of the FSP Initiative are:

  • Increasing the representation of Latinos and African-Americans, at all levels, within the Chicago area financial services industry
  • Improving the overall cultural competency within the Chicago area financial services industry

To learn more about gaps in the representation of African-Americans and Latinos in the financial services sector, click on the reports below.


i The FSP Initiative focuses on the following EEOC categories: (1) “Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers:” these individuals reside in the highest levels of organizations and direct or coordinate activities with the support of subordinate executive and staff managers, e.g. chief executive officers, chief operating officers, managing partners, etc.; (2) “First/Mid-Level Officials and Managers:” these individuals serve as managers and receive directions from the Executive/Senior Level Officials and Managers, including those who report to middle managers, e.g. regional vice presidents, information system managers, branch managers, etc.; (3) “Professionals:” Most jobs in this category require bachelor or graduate degrees, and/or professional certification, such as accountant, economist, auditor, etc; (4) “Technicians:” these jobs include activities that require applied scientific skills, usually obtained by post-secondary education; and (5) “Sales Workers:” these jobs include non-managerial activities that wholly and primarily involve direct sales; e.g. brokers, sales agents, etc. For the purposes of this Index, “Professionals,” “Technicians” and “Sales Workers” have been aggregated under one category that combines the three of them. When considered as a whole, the financial services industry includes all EEOC job categories within it, i.e., the five mentioned above plus the following: “Administrative Support,” “Craft Workers,” “Operatives,” “Laborers and Helpers,” and “Service Workers.” Detailed classification of EEOC job categories can be found at Detailed classification of EEOC job categories.

ii Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Government Accountability Office, 2010 and 2013