Asiamoney, September 29 2020
This is part of the Asiamoney Women in Banking report
If there is a positive story to tell in terms of female representation in Asian banking, it is in wealth management and private banking. It’s a better picture, comparatively speaking, than the rest of the industry. But that’s the key word: comparatively.
“It’s all relative,” says Kam Shing Kwang, Hong Kong-based CEO of JPMorgan Private Bank.
“If you’re talking about other lines of business like investment banking, which is still very dominated by male colleagues, then on a relative basis the private bank is faring better. But if you are talking about representation at the senior level, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”
She adds: “I think it’s happening, but still not enough, in my opinion. It is two steps forward, one step back.”
The roster of women in leadership positions in Asian wealth management includes Kwang herself at JPMorgan, Amy Lo at UBS and Siew Meng Tan at HSBC – all of whom are regional heads of private banking. Tan Su Shan had that job at DBS, overseeing all wealth management, before she moved to head of institutional banking to gain wider experience ahead of a potential elevation to CEO, whenever Piyush Gupta retires. Other women in senior positions in this particular field of banking include Pearlyn Phau, deputy head of the wealth business at DBS, and Eleanor Yuen, head of wealth and tax planning in Asia at Julius Baer.
Given the size of the private banking industry in Asia, perhaps there should be many more women in the top ranks. “You can name three female heads?” says one leading woman in the industry, dryly. “Well, there are a lot of private banks in town.”
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