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LGBTQ-Friendly Brokerages Ranked (Only One Falls Short)

By Thomas Coyle November 21, 2017

Every national or super-regional brokerage in the U.S. gets a 100% ranking for inclusiveness toward employees and community members who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning — LGBTQ — except for Raymond James, which received a score of 85%. That’s according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James falls short of full marks in the CEI for two reasons. It gets docked 10 points for not — as the CEI write-up puts it — offering “transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage.” And it loses five of 15 points for only partial adherence to a policy of positively engaging the “external LGBTQ community” and barring “philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations with an explicit policy of discrimination against LGBTQ people.”

Raymond James, which got 85% on the CEI for 2017 as well, didn’t respond to FA-IQ’s request for comment.

Overall, financial service companies follow only law firms as the most LGBTQ-friendly industry segment the CEI tracks.

Among the big brokerages with perfect scores for 2018 — and last year as well — are Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch’s corporate parent Bank of America, Wells Fargo, UBS, Ameriprise Financial, Edward Jones and RBC’s U.S.-based wealth management group.

To get a 100% score, the CEI’s curators say a company must in all cases:

  • Have sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination protections explicitly included in all of its operations, both within the U.S. and global operations
  • Require U.S. contractors to abide by companies’ existing inclusive nondiscrimination policy
  • Implement internal requirements prohibiting U.S. company philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations that have a written policy of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

For its part, UBS is “honored to again be recognized by the HRC as one of the top places to work for LGBTQ employees,” UBS Wealth Management Americas president Tom Naratil says in a press release. “Our people are our greatest asset and the key to our growth and success.”

Tom Naratil

Zurich-based UBS, whose U.S. units are headquartered in New York, adds it’s “committed to diversity and inclusion in our office culture.” Besides “UBS’ encompassing policies, programs, and benefits that positively support all employees, there is also Pride Americas, the employee network for LGBTQ employees and allies” that encourages “an open, honest, LGBTQ-friendly environment.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has been tracking the best places to work for LGBTQ equality since 2002. That year, only 13 companies achieved scores of 100%. For 2018, despite more exacting criteria, 609 companies made top marks.