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Fund Industry Urged to Hire More Minorities

Washington - The mutual fund industry needs to do more to hire minorities, according to an independent mutual fund director. Willie D. Davis, an independent director for the Strong Funds for the past five years, told mutual fund executives at a conference here that the issue of racial diversity is starting to appear "on the screen" for the mutual fund industry. Davis, who is African-American, said that in hiring and on "social issues," the mutual fund industry has a "responsibility to give something back."

Davis was a participant in the SEC's conference, "The Role of Independent Investment Company Directors."

Davis' comments at the conference primarily concerned the work independent directors do to check the practices of fund advisers. But in his public comments and in a brief interview afterward, Davis said there needs to be "some way" of increasing diversity in the mutual fund industry. Added hiring will help minorities advance into management roles in the industry, Davis said.

"I think it's a question that's going to be asked more and more," Davis said of how to increase industry diversity.