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Wall Street under pressure over its lack of diversity

Ares Mgmt. Managing Director and Global Chief DEI, Indhira Arrington, joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down the lack of diversity on Wall Street.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: Three months into the new year, all kinds of things are changing. And the way that boards of directors actually appear is also changing. But when you talk about diversity and inclusion on Wall Street, there's still a long way to go.

Let's bring in to the stream to talk about this Indhira Arrington, Ares Management managing director and global chief of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thank you for joining us. And even NASDAQ last year took the stance that companies listed on NASDAQ are going to have to get much better at diversity inclusion among their board of directors. Where do we stand?

INDHIRA ARRINGTON: Well, unfortunately, Adam, we are, as you said, light years away from seeing gender equity and racial ethnic diversity equity not only on Wall Street, a recent study from McKinsey, their women in the workplace study actually showed that we're, like, 100 years away for upper management of US companies to achieve gender parity.

So the progress is slow and painful. And what is so important for us at Ares is to try to figure out, how do we accelerate the progress? And I think there's a lot of initiatives out there. Even, as you mentioned, the initiative with NASDAQ, where by setting actual aspirational goals to drive the diversity that we want to see, we're going to be able to make a little bit more progress. But you're right, we have to have to be intentional about it.

JEN ROGERS: So what are some of the intentional ways that you're going about doing it? You know, setting the goals is one thing. Have you set meaningful goals out there that you have that, you know, either the time horizon is even too far out to dream of, but you think we're going to get there soon. Like, what are the metrics for you guys?

INDHIRA ARRINGTON: So at Ares, we actually have embarked on rolling out a DNF framework. And it's really focused on three pillars. It's our people and our culture. So how do we attract, develop, engage, and advance our people in our culture in order to drive DEI within the company? The second pillar is around our business and our investment processes. So how do we build the infrastructure within the firm to operationalize DEI?

And then how do we drive diversity and inclusion not just into human people processes, but also into all of our business processes through our due diligence? And an example of that is we've actually are undergoing a DEI qualitative and quantitative analysis that we're doing in partnership with our majority portfolio companies in order to ensure that we can come up with strategic plans not just at the Ares management level, but with all of our partners to drive diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business.

And then, finally, how do-- our third pillar is around our communities. How are we impacting change from an industry perspective by joining organizations like [INAUDIBLE] and their diversity initiative? Our CEO signed the CO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, and we are working with these organizations to come up with industry wide measurements and initiatives that will ensure that we are driving the change that we want to see. And then, finally--

ADAM SHAPIRO: Is there--

INDHIRA ARRINGTON: --from a philanthropic perspective, how can we amplify what we can do across all of our pillars through our giving and corporate citizenship?

ADAM SHAPIRO: Indhira, with just about a minute left, to be intentional, would it make sense, though, to-- we're not going to do business with you because you don't meet these criterion. Are you doing that?

INDHIRA ARRINGTON: We're doing it a little differently. We're taking a more proactive approach in partnering with organizations to think that we do business with to drive DNI. So, for example, we're working on a board initiative to ensure that we can drive board diversity through our portfolio companies. We really do think that we have to meet people where they are and bring them along and show them that diversity is just not the right thing to do, but a business imperative and good for business.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, we appreciate your being here, Indhira Arrington, Ares Management managing director and global chief of diversity, equity, and inclusion. All the best to you and the team there.