Wall Street Project Economic Summit: Mission Solution

Wall Street Project Economic Summit: Mission Solution

The harsh reality is that African Americans are less than 1% in gaining access to corporate endowment foundations.

How can we gain access? “It’s all about delivering good product to your client, that’s a start,” says James F. Haddon. “But we still need external help—board members, public officials, etc. to ask the hard questions—why aren’t we having more minority asset managers? We also need to stay ahead of the curve. Wall Street is always changing, there are new products out here. As we grow we have to get into sectors where there are high margin products,” he continued.

Jeffrey L. Humber Jr. exclaimed, “You’re going to have to call on white folks! Market and sell to white folks. You have to ignore the baggage and fish where the fish are. You have to market where the money is. We just want to join the club.”

Ultimately, the panel agreed that we have to start young with educating our youth on financial literacy so that they may be equipped when the time comes to compete in the ‘big leagues.’

The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson concluded the session with a profound statement, “While effort and excellence means a lot, inheritance, access, and relationships, mean more.”

Following this panel, The Honorable Steve Benjamin, Mayor, Columbia, South Carolina, Robert L. Greene, president & CEO, National Association of Investment Companies, John W. Rogers, Jr., chairman, CEO and chief investment officer, Ariel Investment, Robert Steele, Cook County commissioner, Illinois and The Honorable Kurt Summers, treasurer, City of Chicago, joined together under the moderation of Georgy Curry, former editor-in- chief, National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, to discuss the challenges of MWBE (minority women-owned business enterprises) Investment Firms managing money for corporate funds. There are many challenges for MWBE investment firms that seek to manage funds for corporate pensions, foundations, corporate endowments and hospitals. This panel discussed efforts to increase engagement of minority asset management firms by corporate pension funds, foundations, endowments and hospitals.

“So much of our wealth is being created in Silicon Valley and Wall Street,” says John W. Rogers.

While Robert Steele projects the sentiment of many panel goers expressing, “We need the right people in office. You have to local talent to make decisions for large organizations. If you’re on a board, use your seat effectively. Don’t be on a team if you’re not using your voice.”

The pressing panel question was, what to do now? We hear of all the problems. What would be the solution?

George Green asks, “As consumers, of Verizon, Wells Fargo, and those other Fortune 500 companies where African Americans are underrepresented or not represented at all on the boards, why can’t we leverage that and say ‘You’re not doing business with us. Why should we do business with you?'”

Sometimes it all calls for a good ‘ole fashion boycott, as voting with your wallet works.