There was a lot of interest in the Brookings Working Paper on Black Regulators that I authored over the summer, which has been enormously gratifying, and personally fulfilling. And in the course of subsequent presentations at Harvard, Wharton and several regional reserve banks, a number of interesting questions came up that deserved good answers. Among them: What specifically are the agency level statistics like in terms of Black leadership at the very top (e.g. SEC Chairmen, CFTC Chairmen, CFPB Directors, etc.)? And second, what kind of leadership has there been historically at the level of Division Directors at the SEC and CFTC given their centrality in preparing policy for Commissioners?
With that in mind, I crunched the numbers and added an Addendum to the Working Paper. The full paper, with the Addendum and attendant explanations, can be found here on SSRN. The addendum reflected the information that I referenced in my recent SEC keynote speech.
The findings are as follows:
|Present and Past Black Leaders of Financial Regulatory Agencies (e.g. Chairmen)||Total Historical Number of Agency Leaders||Percent of Black Agency Leaders|
Table A.1 indicates that only 1.55% of all financial regulatory leaders have been African American. Notably the table, like the Working Paper, presents the data in the most optimistic light possible. It does not include heads of defunct agencies like the OTS, where none of its half dozen Directors (0%) were Black. Moreover, the two individuals who have served did so at arguably the smallest of all financial agencies. No African American (0%) has served as the head of any of the most economically influential regulatory agencies.
As to the second query:
|Title||Total Number of Black Directors of Division in History of Agency|
|SEC (1934-2020)||Division, Corporation Finance||0|
|Division, Economic and Risk Analysis||0|
|Division, Investment Management||1 (1998-2005)|
|Division, International Affairs||1 (2018-2020)|
|Division, Trading and Markets||0|
|CFTC (1975-2020)||Division, Clearing and Risk||0|
|Division, Market Oversight||0|
|Division, Market Participants||0|
The findings here are sobering, and add context to the challenges outlined in the Working Paper. With only two identifiable African American Division Directors across the two agencies, ever, the data in Table A.2 point to a failure by virtually all past SEC and CFTC Chairmen, from Progressive Democrats to Conservative Republicans, to select or promote any African Americans to these key executive policy leadership roles.