DBS, CDL on Bloomberg's index of gender equality

Chief financial officer Yiong Yim Ming (left) and chief sustainability officer Esther An are part of CDL's senior management. The women on DBS' group management committee, who make up 30 per cent of its members, are (from left) Ms Eng-Kwok Seat Moey,
The women on DBS' group management committee, who make up 30 per cent of its members, are (from left) Ms Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, head of DBS' capital markets group; Ms Pearlyn Phau, deputy group head of DBS' consumer banking and wealth management; Ms Tan Su Shan, group head of DBS' wealth management; Ms Jeanette Wong, group executive, head of DBS' institutional banking group; Ms Chng Sok Hui, DBS' chief financial officer; Ms Lee Yan Hong, head of DBS' group human resources; and Ms Karen Ngui, head of DBS' group strategic marketing and communications.PHOTO: DBS
Chief financial officer Yiong Yim Ming (left) and chief sustainability officer Esther An are part of CDL's senior management. The women on DBS' group management committee, who make up 30 per cent of its members, are (from left) Ms Eng-Kwok Seat Moey,
Chief financial officer Yiong Yim Ming (left) and chief sustainability officer Esther An are part of CDL's senior management. PHOTO: CDL

Both firms among six in Asia, excluding Japan, included in index tracked by investors

Singapore-listed companies DBS Group Holdings and City Developments Limited (CDL) have made it to the 2018 edition of Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index (GEI).

The index, which was launched on Monday, measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community engagement and gender-conscious product offerings.

DBS and CDL are among six companies in Asia (excluding Japan) included in the index, which is tracked by investors.

In a 2016 Human Development Report published by the United Nations, Singapore was ranked fifth out of 188 countries for gender equality, up from 11th in 2015.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta said: "We believe that when you achieve a critical mass of women across all levels, this will make a difference in an organisation's ability to succeed.

"In Singapore, women form 60 per cent of DBS' overall workforce, and 40 per cent of our senior management. Women also make up 30 per cent of our group management committee, which sets the strategy and direction of DBS."

Besides having a board diversity policy, DBS has family-friendly policies where employees can choose from different working arrangements such as flexible time, part-time, work-from-home and sabbatical leave, the bank said.

DBS, which also provides inclusive banking services, played an active role in launching the Women's Livelihood Bond - the world's first social sustainability bond to be listed on a stock exchange. It is listed on the Singapore Exchange.

The US$8 million ($10.6 million) bond has an impact on the livelihoods of over 385,000 women in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam through micro loans.

Separately, CDL chief executive Sherman Kwek said: "We have always believed in the importance of gender diversity and strived hard to make it part of our corporate culture... With women making up about 70 per cent of CDL's workforce and 40 per cent of our department heads, we are committed to empowering women in our workplace."

Recognising that creating opportunities for women is fundamental to sustainable growth, CDL established an internal task force last year to advocate diversity within the firm and the community.

The real estate company has also adopted a formal board diversity policy.

Also, at the launch of its Singapore Sustainability Academy, the developer initiated Women4Green, the first Singapore network that aims to empower women to create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable future.

Ms Kiersten Barnet, deputy chief of staff to the chairman at Bloomberg, said: "As investors continue to seek more information on companies' approaches to environmental, social and governance factors, the 2018 Bloomberg GEI allows investors to compare companies' commitments to gender equality across industries."

She added: "More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality."

Bloomberg's GEI included 104 companies from 10 sectors headquartered in 24 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'DBS, CDL on Bloomberg's index of gender equality'. Print Edition | Subscribe