As Occupy Wall Street protesters criticize high unemployment and economic inequality, a little-known diversity mandate embedded in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173 / Public Law 111-203) is forcing a different kind of occupation within those very financial institutions. In 2012, Wall Street firms must be prepared to prove they’ve made a good faith effort to employ women and minorities or else they stand to lose billions of dollars worth of contracts with the federal government.
In other words, Dodd-Frank is mandating that more women and minorities must occupy lucrative Wall Street jobs that heretofore have been dominated by white men who, in gender and ethnicity, resemble Gordon Gekko, the anti-hero of the movie Wall Street and of its sequel.The Dodd-Frank provision is buried within some 850 pages of legislative text designed to strengthen the financial sector, promote economic recovery and job growth, protect consumers, and permanently end taxpayer bailouts of private institutions. Section 342 of Dodd-Frank embeds 20 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion at virtually every major financial regulatory agency of the federal government: Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the 12 Federal Reserve banks, and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The offices are designed to serve as watchdogs, monitoring the diversity of the agencies and the government contractors and subcontractors with which they do business. The list includes “financial institutions, investment banking firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, financial services entities, underwriters, accountants, investment consultants and providers of legal services.
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