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

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 CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks GOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' The Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act is an industry game-changer MORE (R-Idaho) and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate poised to battle over Biden's pick of big bank critic Biden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package MORE (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.

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The House passed the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksHouse passes sweeping defense policy bill Overnight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Defense bill takes center stage MORE (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.