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Malaysia tops Southeast Asian countries for board diversity in banks

Malaysia tops Southeast Asian countries for board diversity in banks

The Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance (MCCG), announced in April 2017 by Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), which called for increasing women’s participation in boards of the top 100 companies on Bursa Malaysia from 16.8% to 30% by 2020, might well be reaping dividends.

In a new Bloomberg report, Malaysia’s large banks have been found to have the highest board representation for women across the Southeast Asian region, outpacing peers in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines where the proportion is below 20%.

Women make up more than 30% of the boards of top Malaysian banks, compared with only 9% on average in the Philippines, and 13% in Singapore, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from published information on the three largest banks in each of five countries.

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In a previous interview with Human Resources Online, Nora Abd Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer/group EXCO, Maybank has said there is a conscious bid to close the gender diversity gap for the benefit of the organisation, talents and society as a whole.

Calling for all employers to make this a priority, she said: "Progress cannot continue to be at glacial speed and needs to be accelerated – this can only happen if the discipline of levelling the playing field is instilled in the organisation as well as the ecosystem, and actions are taken to ensure inclusion."

Meanwhile, in Thomson Reuters’ Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Index 2018, CIMB Group Holdings secured 95th spot out of the 100 companies featured in the global rankings, based on four key pillars: diversity, inclusion, news and controversies, and people development. These took into consideration: board gender diversity, women employees, diversity objectives, and more.

ALSO READ: Do you have what it takes to be appointed to the board of directors?

Further, when Human Resources Online spoke to Jamaluddin Bakri, Group Chief Human Resource Officer, RHB Banking Group, he emphasised how the first part of RHB's new culture components launched in February 2017 is One RHB, i.e. a strong collaborative and cohesive culture, while welcoming diversity in views.

"It is called One RHB because it comprises a mix of people. We monitor our diversity statistics. For example, we have a fairly even mix of men and women (54% of our population are women and 46% are men). By generation, more than 56% of our population are Gen Y," he commented.

Interestingly, when all the 15 banks were considered in the Bloomberg survey, the best performer was in Thailand, where a certain level of board representation for women isn’t compulsory. Bangkok-based Kasikornbank Pcl has seven female directors, or almost 40% of the 18-member board.

Graphic / Bloomberg

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