Jim Reynolds, Chairman and CEO of Loop Capital, told CNBC on Thursday that building a diverse team was not a challenge for the Chicago-based investment bank.
"I found it amazingly easy to recruit minority candidates – African-American women, and promote them very easily because I focus on talent," said Reynolds in the "mid-term report". "And the talent really gets through."
Reynolds & # 39; comments come as the United States witnessed widespread protests against racial inequality and police brutality after the murders of black Americans such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Leading companies across America, including those on Wall Street, have committed to combating racial discrimination by donating to charity and making changes in their own businesses in recent weeks.
Reynolds said he believed that the diversity on Wall Street was now worse overall than in the early stages of his career, which began in 1982 as a bond dealer. He spent time at PaineWebber, which was later taken over by UBS, and then managed the sale of municipal bonds in the Midwest for Merrill Lynch. He was a co-founder of Loop Capital in 1997.
Jim Reynolds, CEO of Loop Capital, will attend the BuildOn Chicago Dinner at the Hilton Chicago on June 1, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.
Jeff Schear | Getty Images
"It was always a struggle for Wall Street to hire African Americans and I never found out why," said Reynolds, referring to conversations he had had with other black industry colleagues. "We think there were more African Americans on Wall Street in the 1980s when we all came in, which is an amazing, astonishing statement. But I think it's true."
Reynolds noted that Loop Capital has African Americans in various roles on his leadership team, from the company's general counsel, Adrienne Pitts, to its president, Kourtney Gibson, who started out as a high school intern at Loop. According to Reynolds, Loop's commitment to diversity begins with the internship program.
"Loop Capital will likely bring more African Americans to Wall Street than any other company that has ever existed in the business … because we hire 20 to 30 [as interns] every year," said Reynolds.
Kourtney Gibson, President of Loop Capital
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
He said interns, for example, were scattered around the corporate finance and equity trading desks in Loop. He said Loop was trying to employ as many interns as possible for full-time positions, but could "only keep as many". But in the end, many of these interns make careers with other companies on the street, he said.
"When I'm done and Kourtney takes over, we'll have a significant number of Loop-trained people on Wall Street," he said.
Reynolds said he believes companies' efforts to address racial inequality must go beyond the composition of their board of directors. They need to try to expand educational opportunities in low-resource schools like some in Chicago, he said.
"I've never been able to, and I'm trying to find a correlation between blacks on the board and a company that does more for blacks and African Americans. I haven't seen it," he said. "If you ask me if I think African Americans will be promoted to the C-Suite … I don't think that's what it's about right now. I think it's about what these companies are doing with the money right now do that they do to change these communities. "