Uptick in women's representation on Singapore boards this year: MSCI study

    By Vivienne Tay

    The Business Times, 19 December 2019

    THE total number of women on Singapore company boards saw a 4.7 percentage point uptick year on year to 18.4 per cent in 2019, according to investment research firm MSCI’s study on female representation on corporate boards.

    Despite this slight increase, the percentage of Singapore female directors still fell below the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) global average of 20 per cent.

    The research also found that 23.1 per cent of Singapore companies had three or more women on their boards, lower than the global average of 36.2 per cent.

    However, Singapore outpaced MSCI ACWI’s average when it comes to female chief executive officers (CEOs), with 7.7 per cent of Singapore companies having a female CEO, compared with the MSCI ACWI average of 4.3 per cent.

    The Republic also beat the global MSCI ACWI average when it comes to having female chief financial officers (CFOs) with 30.8 per cent of Singapore companies having a female CFO, compared with the MSCI ACWI average of 12.5 per cent.

    The study reviewed the board and executive management structures of 2,765 companies included in the MSCI ACWI as at Oct 31.

    Out of these companies, 26 were Singapore-listed, including DBS, OCBC, United Overseas Bank, Singtel and CapitaLand, among others.

    Recently, on Dec 10, The Business Times reported findings from the Singapore Board of Directors Survey 2019 by the Singapore Institute of Directors and Singapore Exchange.

    The survey showed Singapore-listed companies being nowhere near the 20 per cent aspirational target set by the government when it comes to having female directors on the boards of their companies.

    The percentage of respondent firms having no female directors fell to 39 per cent, from 45 per cent in 2017 and 53 per cent in 2015.