BHEF Vice Chair Roger W. Ferguson Announces Project to Diversify the Financial Services Industry Workforce

Business Roundtable Joins BHEF to Launch New York City Regional Project

Washington, D.C. (June 19) —Today, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) and Business Roundtable (BRT) joined forces to launch the next area of focus of BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI): the Financial Services Industry Workforce Project. At a public event, BHEF Vice Chair Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO, TIAA-CREF, and The Honorable John Engler, president, Business Roundtable, and former governor of Michigan, were joined by a select group of industry CEOs to announce the development of a New York City regional project.

The complex regulatory, product, and service environments, along with the recent financial crisis, has increased the demand for greater skills and diversity in the financial services industry. To address this need, Ferguson, with BHEF member Peter Weinberg, partner, Perella Weinberg Partners, gathered a group of BHEF and BRT members, to spearhead the New York effort. CEO Leadership Group members include:

  • Roger Ferguson, CEO, TIAA-CREF (co-lead)
  • Peter A. Weinberg, partner, Perella Weinberg Partners (co-lead)
  • Jorge Benitez, chief executive – United States and senior managing director – North America, Accenture
  • Edward B. Rust Jr., chairman of the board and CEO, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
  • John Veihmeyer, global chairman, KPMG International, and chairman and CEO of KPMG in the U.S.
  • Larry D. Zimpleman, chairman, president, and CEO, Principal Financial Group

“Peter and I are excited by the energy and commitment of this exceptional group,” said Ferguson. “Our national economy depends on a vibrant financial services industry workforce, and BHEF is pleased partner with the Business Roundtable as we work to prepare college graduates with the skills they need to succeed in the industry.”

BHEF and BRT will use five business “levers”—c-suite leadership, philanthropy, employee engagement, core competencies, and funded research—to improve undergraduate educational outcomes and workforce alignment. Through research and consultation with industry leaders, financial services organizations, and higher education institutions, the project will:

  • Prepare a diverse workforce well trained in cybersecurity, data science and analytics, risk management, and social and mobile technologies;
  • Create opportunities for low-income students, underrepresented minorities, women, and veterans; and,
  • Incorporate 21st-century competencies—such as critical thinking, problem solving, analytical reasoning, communication, and working in multi-cultural teams—into the undergraduate experience.

BRT President Engler remarked: “Our partnership with BHEF is a natural fit for Business Roundtable because it builds on the Roundtable’s ongoing efforts to improve America’s workforce. Our members understand America needs a pipeline of exceptional talent to maintain its position as a global powerhouse, innovator, and economic leader. The Financial Services Industry Project provides a terrific opportunity to match college students and employers in the vibrant financial services sector.”

“The financial services industry is a natural next step for BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative,” stated BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald. “Together with the Business Roundtable, our CEO leadership group, and our membership, BHEF is implementing solutions address regional workforce challenges. I thank Governor Engler for his support, and look forward to our New York City efforts.”

About the Business Roundtable
Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy. BRT-member companies produce $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and employ more than 16 million people. Comprising more than a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market, these companies invest $158 billion annually in research and development – equal to 62 percent of private U.S. R&D spending. In addition, they pay more than $200 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate more than $540 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually. BRT companies give more than $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
Now in its 36th year, BHEF is the nation's oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to advancing innovative education and workforce solutions and improving U.S. competitiveness. BHEF's business and academic members collaborate in regions across the country to design and deploy education-workforce solutions in the high-demand and emerging fields that are so critical to innovation and national security. BHEF and its members drive change locally, work to influence public policy at the national and state levels, and inspire other leaders to act.