IIC: Aim For At Least 30% Women Board Representation

The Institutional Investors Council (IIC) Malaysia in supporting the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) agenda announced that its revised Malaysian Code for Institutional Investors 2022, to be published on 23 September, shall state its expectations for investee companies to comprise at least 30% women representation on their boards within a reasonable timeframe of not more than three years, which is aligned with the approach adopted by the Malaysian Code for Corporate Governance.

This was announced at the 30% Club’s Board Mentoring Scheme celebratory event, graced by the Minister of Finance Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

Lya Rahman, Adviser and Council Member of IIC said, “Under this revised Code, investee companies of IIC members, which includes seven Government Linked Investment Companies (GLICs), must have clear policies to support the participation of at least 30% women on the board and in senior management, and the board must demonstrate commitment to take concrete action to implement these policies.

“Where participation of women is less than 30%, investee companies are expected to put in greater efforts to reach the target. Of course, the ultimate aim is to have 30% women on all public listed company boards.”

Dato’ Ami Moris, Chair of the 30% Club Malaysia, and CEO of Maybank Investment Banking Group said, “30% is seen to be a pivotal milestone in achieving meaningful DEI. Global institutional investors are scrutinising investee boards and senior leadership for DEI outcomes, likewise ESG rating providers such as Sustainalytics and MSCI.

“This is an important agenda because DEI is about winning the battle for talent to build globally competitive and highly investible companies that will add to the vibrancy of our economy and capital markets. Leadership must evolve to reflect the realities of the business environment or risk being left behind.”

Zafrul, on the matter, said: “The government has envisaged Malaysia as a high-income nation by 2025 in the 12th Malaysia Plan. To that end, organisations need to create an enabling environment that promotes equitable access to high quality jobs and top leadership positions for all talent, regardless of gender and socio-economic background.

Research has shown that adopting diversity policies, as well as promoting equity and inclusion will not only drive better decision-making, but also result in improved stakeholder management, which reduces key risks, and develops an entity’s resilience while also contributing to nation building.”

He added, “Since 2020, the Finance Ministry has encouraged GLICs to show leadership on DEI initiatives, given their pre-eminent roles in nation-building and socio-economic development. Representing about RM445 billion or 25% of Bursa Malaysia’s market capitalisation; directly employing 500,000 people; and with RM1.7 trillion of assets under management, GLICs will pave the way in realising the government’s objective of having 30% women representation on boards.”

The event on Friday celebrated the seventh cohort’s completion of the Board Mentoring Scheme, and welcomed the eighth cohort.

Launched in 2017, the Scheme is a major initiative of the 30% Club and its strategic partner, PwC Malaysia to prepare and raise the visibility of senior women leaders and professionals in taking on board positions.

Admitted through a rigorous nomination process, 85 women have been mentored by captains of industries over seven cohorts. As at August 2022, 37% have secured board seats.

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