Business & Lobbying

Chamber of Commerce, banking industry groups call on Senate to pass corporate diversity bill

Greg Nash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, the Real Estate Roundtable and others called on the Senate to pass legislation that would require public companies to disclose the racial, ethnic and gender composition of their boards and executive officers.

In a letter sent Monday to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the trade organizations said this legislation would organically boost diversity on boards through disclosure. 

“Our associations and members support efforts to increase gender, racial, and ethnic diversity on corporate boards of directors, as diversity has become increasingly important to institutional investors, pension funds, and other stakeholders,” the groups wrote.

The House passed the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), in November and the Senate has not acted on the legislation.

The bill would require issuers of securities to submit disclosure forms about their boards and executives, including if any of them are veterans, in their proxy statements and to disclose the adoption of any board policy or strategy to promote diversity.

“According to PwC’s 2019 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, 94% of board directors surveyed indicated that a diverse board brings unique perspectives, 87% responded that diversity enhances board performance, and 84% responded that it improves relationships with investors,” the groups wrote.

Other groups on the letter include the Bank Policy Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Investment Companies, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Black Chamber of Commerce and TechNet, among others.

Tags board of directors Corporate governance Diversity Gregory Meeks Mike Crapo Sherrod Brown

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