© Reuters / Shannon Stapleton
Den amerikanske børs Nasdaq har advaret børsnoterede virksomheder om, at de skal udpege mindst to 'forskelligartede' direktører til deres bestyrelse - en 'selvidentificeret' kvinde og en 'underrepræsenteret mindretal' eller LGBTQ-person - eller muligvis står de over for afnotering.

Nasdaq afslørede sin plan om at turbolade mangfoldighed på sin børs i et forslag indgivet til Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) tirsdag.

I henhold til de foreslåede nye regler er ikke kun børsnoterede amerikanske virksomheder forpligtet til at 'offentliggøre konsekvente, gennemsigtige mangfoldighedsstatistikker vedrørende deres bestyrelse', men 'de fleste' virksomheder skal enten udpege 'forskellige' bestyrelsesmedlemmer eller forklare i et brev, hvorfor de ikke havde gjort det.

Den obligatoriske tilføjelse af 'en [direktør], der selvidentificerer sig som kvinde og en, der selvidentificerer sig som enten et underrepræsenteret mindretal eller LGBTQ +' ser ud til at give plads til Rachel Dolezal-stil 'selvidentifikation' som noget andet end hvid, mandlig eller lige - et potentielt smuthul for virksomheder, der foretrækker at beholde deres nuværende bestyrelser. Ikke-amerikanske virksomheder og små virksomheder ville have tilladelse til at udpege to kvindelige direktører i stedet.

Listed companies would be required to publish their diversity stats within a year of the SEC adopting Nasdaq's proposal, and be required to have "one diverse director" within two years of implementation. Depending on company size, they would have four or five years to comply with the two-director requirement. Those who fall short can escape delisting only "if they provide a public explanation of their reasons for not meeting the objectives."

While the exchange's reasoning behind the proposal - to "enhance investor confidence that all listed companies are considering diversity in the context of selecting directors" - has already raised some eyebrows, Nasdaq insisted it had analyzed "over two dozen studies that found an association between diverse boards and better financial performance and corporate governance."

However, with 75 percent of currently-listed Nasdaq companies falling short of the proposed requirements, according to the New York Times' financial blog DealBook, some have questioned how piling on new regulations is supposed to improve financial performance. While Nasdaq has hit record highs in recent days, much of the real economy is still in shambles from the Covid-19 economic shutdowns and in no shape to expend resources on the hunt for box-checking board candidates.

To enforce the new quota system, Nasdaq has partnered with Equilar, a "leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions." As ZeroHedge pointed out, Equilar's own board of directors appears to lack any ethnic diversity.

The proposal was widely panned, as social media users joked Nasdaq was "turning into [a] college admissions office" and argued that selecting directors based on their skin color, genitalia and sexual preference epitomized the bigotry most "diversity" measures claim to fight. "This delegitimizes women and POC," one user tweeted, pointing out that "people will think they achieved their position by quota and not talent."

Others merely wondered how Nasdaq planned to enforce such a rule.

Though some, inevitably, thought it didn't go far enough, insisting companies wouldn't benefit from diversity unless they had at least three women on their boards.

At the same time as Nasdaq was hopping aboard the woke express, investment bank Credit Suisse unveiled its "LGBT-350" index on Tuesday to widespread groans. Many wondered about the need for such an index.

The bank is by no means the only outfit obsessed with surface-level attributes - Goldman Sachs will no longer take a company public unless it has at least one "diverse" board member. Since September, the state of California has required companies headquartered there to have a minimum number of minority directors or face six-figure fines.