In a notice to be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register, the CFPB, OCC, Fed, FDIC, SEC, and NCUA announce that the Office of Management and Budget has approved the “information collection” contained in their “Final Interagency Policy Statement Establishing Joint Standards for Assessing the Diversity Policies and Practices of Entities Regulated by the Agencies.” The Policy Statement, which implemented Dodd-Frank Section 342, became effective upon its publication in the Federal Register on June 10, 2015. The notice informs regulated entities that they may now begin to submit self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices to the Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion of their primary federal financial regulator.
The final standards envision that an entity will conduct an annual “self-assessment” of its diversity policies and practices in four areas: (1) organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion, (2) workforce and employment practices, (3) procurement and business practices, and (4) practices to promote the transparency of organizational diversity and inclusion. The standards provide for “assessment factors” for each of these areas, encouraging entities to allocate time and resources to monitor and evaluate their performance under their diversity policies and practices on an ongoing basis. The standards also contemplate that a regulated entity will disclose certain information relating to its diversity and inclusion efforts on its website or in other appropriate communications, and will provide to its primary federal financial regulator information relating to its self-assessment.
In conjunction with the issuance of the final standards, the agencies had published a 60-day notice requesting comments on the information collection process and parameters, and how this requirement might affect regulated entities. The notice addressed the comments received during the 60-day comment period which included concerns about agency disclosure of confidential information contained in a self-assessment. In response, the agencies offered no assurances that the information would remain confidential, stating simply, “To the extent that a submission includes confidential information, the Agencies will keep such information confidential to the extent allowed by law.”
Ballard Spahr’s Diversity Team is working with several clients on developing and implementing diversity programs.