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, and 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.