Diversity Investing

At Microsoft, we see no limits to the potential we all might realize. We believe in creating opportunities for people to succeed—with our products, in our workplace, and in our communities. Because of our belief in creating opportunities, Microsoft developed the minority investment program in 2000, actively seeking ways to better distribute our investments into smaller, underserved communities. Through these investments, we hope to enable communities and businesses in underprivileged areas to realize their full potential.

Research conducted by Microsoft and the Urban Institute has shown that minority-owned businesses are falling behind in adopting and implementing information technologies for important business functions. We believe this gap exists largely because of a lack of resources—including training, money, and time—for these businesses. The Diversity Investing program aims to increase funding options for businesses that have historically been limited by lack of capital.

The Diversity Investing program directs investment business to qualified minority-owned financial firms and invests in minority-owned financial institutions positioned to understand and address the unique needs of their business community. We have nearly $60 million of unsecured deposits in minority-owned banks and direct more than $2 billion of investment business volume to minority-owned brokers and asset managers.

Download the Microsoft Depository Banking Application (Microsoft Word document, 72 KB)

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    • A.Microsoft establishes its diversity investing goals at the beginning of each fiscal year. These goals are the basis for the diversity investing focus for the following 12 months and may include targeting specific problems in the minority community (such as funding in education), adding other asset classes for diversification and reach, and enhancing the minority bank deposit program.
    • A.Microsoft selects brokers based on our assessment of a firm's capabilities within the financial markets. Factors we consider include historical volume, market support, product coverage, and quality execution. Although we seek out minority-ownership status, we apply the same rigorous hiring standards to each broker.
    • A.Microsoft selects asset managers based on our assessment of each firm's abilities within a particular asset class. After the asset class is established, we use public databases to analyze manager characteristics such as years of experience, mandate size, and ownership structure. Although we seek out minority-ownership status, we apply the same rigorous hiring standards to each manager.
    • A.Microsoft typically identifies and chooses banks for its Diversity Investing program using the following review process:
      • Twice a year, Microsoft Treasury Managers review the set of FDIC-registered minority banks along with referrals from key business partners.

      • These banks are rated on an internally developed scorecard that focuses on a variety of factors, including asset and deposit size, financial ratios, minority and community award recognition, and length of minority establishment.
      • Banks with ratings that meet Microsoft requirements may be contacted to consider filling out a detailed Bank Deposit Application.
      • After the applications have been reviewed, banks are notified as to whether or not Microsoft will be making a deposit with them.