Chairman Powell's July 10th comments on diversity in the financial services industry struck a chord deep in my soul. His answer sounded good but lacked actionable steps to increase diversity. Everyone seems to accept that we need more diversity in our industry, but no one has yet to propose a workable plan by which we can accomplish that goal.
As a woman in the industry I have more than a passing interest in seeing diversity take hold. I believe that there is a simple change that can be made to attract and keep more women to the investment industry: Allow all persons to return to our industry, no matter how long they've been unregistered, if Continuing Education requirements are met.
Women often are the ones who pull back on the career throttle due to care-giving for children or aging family members. In most cases, this can last years. I know many women who have taken time to raise children until they are of school age. That's 5 years out of our industry.
What happens to your licenses if you leave the industry for 5 years? You lose them. ALL OF THEM. It's hard enough to get a job after being out for family care for 5 years, and now the industry dictates that not only are you starting below where you left, but you are starting even lower because all licenses you worked so hard to get are now invalid. You must get fully re-licensed in order to re-join the securities industry due to the rule commonly referred to as "Use-it-or-lose-it".
You need multiple licenses to perform at the management level. It's not just one exam to retake, there are multiple rep and principal licenses that would be lost. It is a long process and a lot of work. Work that's been done before. But those individuals who took the time to care for family members are now penalized for taking that time. Then again, if they don't take the time to care for the needs of others, they may be judged or criticized as too career oriented, lacking empathy and devotion to family.
It is mind boggling that so many other industries allow you to keep your license and re-start your practice regardless how long your time away. Of course, there are Continuing Education requirements to meet, but why can't we do this for investment professionals?
While I focus on women's challenges here, there are many men and women who have left the industry for one reason or another. It's unlikely that they will ever return if required to relicense. How much knowledge and experience are we losing? How many qualified candidates don't even explore the investment industry due to these barriers to re-entry? Too many. Our industry is contracting and aging. We need to attract and retain diverse representatives. Making this change will make a difference.
Chief Compliance Officer
M.E. Allison & Co., Inc.
In 1999, Linde Murphy started in the industry on an equity trading desk in Chicago. Murphy has held positions in compliance, management, sales, operations and business development. Her licenses include Series 4, 7, 24, 27, 50, 53, 63, 65, 79 and Insurance.
Linde Murphy has worked at small firms for the majority of her career and fully understands how small firm employees carry a heavy load of everchanging regulatory obligations. In 2014, she attended the FINRA Institute at Wharton Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professionals on the Small Firm Scholarship. Murphy has spoken at conferences around the country on topics including supervision, anti-money laundering, fixed income markets, senior investors, the CMA process, exam challenges and suitability.
Linde Murphy currently chairs the FINRA Small Firm Advisory Committee. She has served on the District 6 Committee, where she successfully petitioned for limitations on viewing personal information by former employers and fought for updating registration rules to end "use it or lose it". Her membership on the Regulatory Advisory Committee and the Fixed Income Committee provided valuable experience on rule formation and the importance of clearly explaining how potential rules negatively impact small firms' abilities to service clients. Murphy is currently a candidate for the Small Firm Seat for the FINRA Board of Governors.