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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) told the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that they, “support the goal of identifying and removing barriers to diversity in the broker-dealer community.” The groups filed joint comments in response to FINRA’s solicitation of comments on “Supporting Diversity & Inclusion in the Broker-Dealer Industry.”

Both organizations outlined their respective diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and told FINRA that they “are particularly interested in potential recommendations pertaining to barriers that exist for individuals interested in becoming licensed advisers.” They further noted that “even seemingly small changes will result in expanded opportunities and greater diversity within the broker-dealer community.”

An issue raised by IRI and ACLI is the need for consistent approaches among regulators, particularly the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), to address diversity issues. “Because the insurance and securities regulatory frameworks overlap (life insurers are subject to applicable FINRA rules regarding supervision of licensed professionals among other things) and mutually support each other to a certain degree, we urge FINRA to keep the lines of communication open to the NAIC. Consistency in approaches we believe would benefit both industries,” IRI and ACLI said.

“ACLI and IRI look forward to engaging with our regulators as we strive together to empower all Americans, and particularly those in underserved communities, through access to financial education and financial security products,” the groups wrote. “Continuing to foster policies that ensure qualified individuals from minority communities can become licensed financial professionals will create job and ownership opportunities that will reduce the existing racial and gender wealth gaps, which are far too prevalent in our nation.”

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Contact: Dan Zielinski

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