- Asia Pacific treasury industry connects for gender equality
HONG KONG – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transaction Services (GTS) yesterday launched the Asia Pacific Emerging Women in Treasury program at an event in Hong Kong. The program is part of the firm’s efforts as a responsible company to help build diverse and inclusive workplaces, offering a forum for high-potential female talent in Asia Pacific to come together to promote greater gender equality in leadership and address any structural biases against women that may exist.
The program will connect participants with Bank of America Merrill Lynch executives and treasury industry leaders on a regular basis. Participants will also be provided access to the latest treasury and financial market insights via a series of networking lunches, panel discussions and special presentations.
GTS Asia Pacific clients were invited to nominate emerging women talent within their organizations to participate in the program. Those selected to join the inaugural Emerging Women in Treasury class represent a diverse population. They include executives from both local Asian corporations and multinational corporations, they work at companies who are existing Bank of America Merrill Lynch clients as well as prospects, and they hold a variety of positions across various organizational structures.
“Across Asia Pacific, we see that much more work needs to be done to balance the number of women in the workplace. While we continue to address this imbalance internally, we would also like to make a difference externally. The goal is ensuring we create an environment where everyone can fulfill their potential,” says Ivo Distelbrink, head of GTS, Asia Pacific, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
According to the Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in partnership with nonprofit organization Community Business, more needs to be done to address gender inequality in this region. The study found that in Asia Pacific, women hold only 24 percent of the senior positions of the corporations surveyed. The research also showed that in all major markets in the region, the number of women at senior levels is well below corresponding representation in the greater labor force. The imbalance was particularly high in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
“We identified a clear need in the market to help develop and nurture the next generation of women treasurers in Asia, who can be supported by our global platform and diverse local expertise. Greater equality is helped by the launch of new and innovative programs, but for this business-critical issue to succeed it needs the buy-in of an industry undergoing its own transition, such as treasury in Asia Pacific,” says Distelbrink.
The Emerging Women in Treasury Hong Kong chapter will be complemented by the Singapore chapter to be launched in October. Each chapter will have an initial intake of approximately 25 members. Plans are already underway to expand the program to China this year and into other markets in 2016.