Diversity and Inclusion—The Mischler View

The Mischler View Towards D&I Best Practices

Diversity and Inclusion (“D&I”) programs, whether in form of legislated public policy or corporate policy are intended to address  goals and/or mandates that work towards providing a ‘level playing field’ for minority groups that are under-served, under-represented, or as a result of cultural bias, are disadvantaged in terms of not being afforded the same opportunities as non-minority group. It is generally-accepted that minority groups are disadvantaged with regard to employment opportunities, business contract awards, education and housing. The common minority group classifications are based on gender, race, ethnicity, so-called “physical disability” and age.

Government agencies, public corporations, educational institutions and many private enterprises have implemented Diversity and Inclusion programs and policies to foster the advancement of minority group members. That said, D&I programs should not be engineered solely to address social or cultural bias, or to merely comport with an edict. We believe that D&I initiatives should be based on a bigger premise; enterprises that advance diversity and inclusion programs outperform those who do not. This view is based on a broad list of metrics and is supported by reams of data courtesy of both academic and work-place studies across hundreds of companies and organizations.

 

Mischler’s legacy as the financial industry’s oldest diversity firm owned and operated by Service-Disabled Veterans can be attributed much in part to the diversity and inclusion thought-leadership of the world’s two largest public pensions, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRs). It was their collective view that however much the investment industry had taken steps to ensure an equal playing field exists for financial service firms operated by various minority groups (i.e. women, African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian Americans), the financial industry at large had failed to recognize and address the needs of Service-Disabled Veterans.

It was the view of CalSTRS and CalPERS that military veterans –and in particular, those who had earned the classification of service-disabled veteran, best represent the diverse make-up of each of the ‘traditional’ minority classifications within context of race, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. It is our view that potential skills, talent, capability and leadership qualities are inherent attributes to all people, regardless of skin color, gender or other classifications.

More important, the training and experience inherent to those who have served in the military can prove invaluable within a broad assortment of financial service industry roles. Above all, few can dispute that service-disabled veterans have earned the right to enjoy the same opportunities to prove their capabilities as that afforded to any other certified minority group. 

Mischler Financial Group’s capabilities are best evidenced by roles we have been selected for in nearly 700 primary debt capital market (DCM) initiatives advanced by 125+ Fortune corporations, 350+ public finance offerings from state and municipal issuers, and 150+ primary equity capital market offerings (ECM) during the past several years alone.

It is precisely because of our diverse makeup– one that coincides with the diversity profile of the world’s most respected military force– that we can offer expert testimony based on nearly 25 years of operating history and we can state without equivocation that a corporate culture which embraces diversity and inclusion provides the foundation to an organization’s long-term success.

We strongly believe that those having D&I goals, objectives or formal mandates to allocate a certain percentage of business to minority-certified firms should implement those policies and award mandates only when using a rigorous set of criteria that require prospective awardees to meet certain capability standards and to demonstrate true qualifications. We are not alone in this view, as illustrated by the observations  made by these capital markets D&I thought leaders.

Having a minority certification should not be misconstrued as an entitlement, rather it should be viewed as a qualification to be considered for an opportunity.

To the above, Mischler’s military-inspired ethos knows of only three important colors: red, white and blue. Within the context of defining attributes for roles within the organization, we prioritize dedication, commitment, integrity, the highest ethical standards, and the ability to work within a team-dependent enviroment. It is true that when making a hiring decision that have equally-qualified candidates, we will favor the service-disabled veteran.

Since the firm’s inception, Mischler’s commitment to advancing D&I best practices has been a benchmark emulated by peers within the financial industry, and in many instances, our approach to advancing service-disabled veterans within the workplace has inspired major corporations that have sought to further their own D&I goals and objectives to ensure inclusion of SDVs.

As examples,

i. Mischler was credited by the senior management of a midwestern utility for providing guidelines in the company’s mission to hire veterans to replace retiring linemen. This initial guidance led directly to the hiring of 19 individuals.

ii. Mischler was spotlighted in Southern California Edison’s Annual Report for our assistance in explaining the value added by including Veterans in their D&I efforts;

iii.Mischler introduced General Electric to veterans as a D&I category and worked with GE executives to sponsor a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project;

iv. Mischler assisted our partner firm “GTS”, a leading NYSE “Designated Market-Maker in establishing a veteran focused internship and hiring program; one that focuses only on talent and potential, and completely agnostic with regard to any cultural ‘labels’;

v.Memorial Day 2019, Mischler along with above-noted firm hosted a hiring event held at the NYSE with 40 Fortune 500 executives and 20 transitioning veterans. During this event, 3 veterans were interviewed and offered summer internships.

With regard to Mischler internal programs with regard to veteran focused recruiting and career development initiatives,

i. Mischler has worked with IBM to bring cadets from the US Military Academy at West Point to our trading floor and introduce them to the capital markets.

ii. We are a sponsor to and have partnered with VOWS (Veterans on Wall Street) and DoD Skillbridge to hire interns. We have focused searches through various means to find veterans to hire, train, and retain.

iii. In addition to philanthropic initiatives that aim to support best-in-class veteran centric organizations whose mission is to help veterans and SDVs help themselves, Mischler philanthropic programs have expanded to include organizations such as BuildOn.org, whose focus is dedicated to education and opportunities in underserved urban neighborhoods. We also introduced our banking partner, CCB, to BuildOn.org, which led to CCB funding an education project in South Africa.

It is with no small amount of pride that we look at the tangible benefits produced by the commitment of our staff at Mischler, and we look forward to many more years of Giving Back and Paying Forward.