Malaysia’s large banks have the highest board representation

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  • 17 Jun 2019 12:00 AM
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Malaysian Banks Lead Southeast Asian Peers for Board Diversity

Malaysia’s large banks have the highest board representation for women across the Southeast Asian region, outpacing peers in Singapore and the Philippines. Women make up more than 30 percent of the boards of top Malaysian lenders, compared with only 9 percent on average in the Philippines, and 13 percent in Singapore, according to data compiled by financial data firm Bloomberg from published information on the three largest banks in each of five countries. The outperformance of Malaysian banks is likely due to the country’s corporate governance code, which requires that women hold at least 30 percent of board seats at local firms, said Meggin Thwing Eastman, head of impact and screening research at investment analysis firm MSCI Inc. However, of all the 15 banks in the Bloomberg survey, the best performer was in Thailand, where a certain level of board representation for women isn’t compulsory. For example, Bangkok-based Kasikornbank Pcl has seven female directors, or almost 40 percent of the 18-member board.

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