“Women’s board representation came in below 15 per cent among the firms that make up the Hang Seng Index, mainland China’s CSI 300 Index and Taiwan’s Taiex index.”
——Fay Wu, Global Head of Research, MioTech
MioTech contributed to the recent South China Morning Post (SCMP) article titled “Hong Kong firms under pressure to improve boardroom gender diversity as asset managers turn up the heat". This follows the Hong Kong Exchange rule that will require greater gender diversity in company boards starting from this year. Hong Kong-listed firms with single-gender boards will be required to introduce a director of a different gender in three years, or at the end of 2024.
MioTech data shows that across all the board members of more than 2,500 Hong Kong-listed companies, only 14.9% were women in 2021, a slow progress from 14.4% in 2020 and 13.8% in 2019. Similarly amongst the 64 companies that make up the Hang Seng Index, 14.6% of board members were women in 2020.
Other markets in Greater China also show a similarly low percentage of women board members. Fay Wu, Global Head of Research at MioTech said “Women’s board representation came in below 15 per cent among the firms that make up the Hang Seng Index, mainland China’s CSI 300 Index and Taiwan’s Taiex index”. Wu noted that the region has significantly lagged behind the US, Europe on board diversity.
By contrast, 30 per cent of the board members of firms that make up the US’ S&P 500 index are women. In Europe, 36 per cent of the FTSE100 and 44 per cent of the CAC40 board members were women in 2020.
SCMP mentioned that some asset managers have chosen to take a harder stance on board diversity, which puts Hong Kong-listed companies under greater pressure.
BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager with US$10 trillion of assets, will vote against the re-election of the director responsible for board nomination for all Hong Kong-listed firms with no female board representation.
Some 30 per cent of listed firms in Hong Kong and 22 per cent of those listed firms on the mainland had all-male boards last year. Those with the largest market capitalisation include Hong Kong-listed food delivery platform Meituan, China Mobile, e-commerce firm JD.com, batteries and electric vehicles maker BYD and smart phone maker Xiaomi.
Fidelity International, with US$738 billion of assets under management, will vote against members of boards if they do not have at least 30 per cent female board representation for companies in developed markets and 15 per cent in emerging markets.
Read the print copy of release below or follow the original link on SCMP here: