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The financial sector must step up its efforts to promote diversity, according to the president of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“How do we start to think outside the box, so to speak, about who we’re hiring and who we’re looking for as a future industry leader?” Russ Behnam asked last week at 2022 Financial Sector Regulatory Authority Annual conference. “So far we’ve been very close, because it’s convenient, it’s easy.”

“It’s going to benefit us all and build a stronger foundation for the future if, again, we cast a wider net and start looking around in areas that we historically aren’t used to,” he said. he added.

Behnam said that in 2019, while serving as commissioner of the CFTC, he wrote an open letter to the director of the CFTC’s Office for Minority and Women’s Inclusion regarding diversity in the workforce. organisation.

“I was struggling and a bit disappointed with the diversity we had at the leadership level,” he said, noting he didn’t see much change. “There were a lot of initiatives and a lot of goals set, but nothing was really showing or evolving.”

“It was pretty clear that we weren’t going in the right direction – we weren’t asking the right questions, we weren’t really casting a wide enough network to recruit a larger population of potential candidates,” he added. . “When I became president, I created the agency’s first diversity officer – she started in January and really took off.”

CFTC Diversity Director Tanisha Cole Edmonds is working to restructure the foundations of the agency so that it can think about diversity “across the spectrum” very differently than it has historically, according to Behnam.

“It will benefit the agency, it will benefit the industry, we have to work together on this,” he said.

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