Q&A: Malaysia’s first female IB CEO on equality


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 15 Aug 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Female investment bankers have come a long way in Malaysia since Yang Shu Yin became the industry’s first woman to reach the rank of chief executive officer 24 years ago.

These days, the country has female bosses at three of its 11 homegrown investment banks. Women also hold the top jobs at the Malaysian units of Credit Suisse Group AG, Rothschild and OverseaChinese Banking Corp. And a woman will soon take over the global operations of Maybank Kim Eng, the securities arm of Malaysia’s largest lender.

Yang, who began her career as an investment assistant at MIMB Investment Bank Bhd in 1972 and rose through the ranks, has been happily retired since 2002, and now spends much of her time on charity work. She shared some thoughts on diversity in an email interview with Bloomberg. Her comments have been edited and condensed.

Why are women rising to the top of Malaysian investment banks

As societies develop and progress, gender neutrality and equal opportunities in education have opened doors for everyone. Hiring of qualified females will not be an afterthought, not only in investment banking but in numerous other fields

What was it like being first

The position carried a tremendous responsibility.

It was an extreme honour. Above all, one is reminded that the occupant of the CEO/executive director’s chair is never permanent. Let me share a wise saying by one of several distinguished MIMB chairmen that I had the privilege of serving with during my tenure:

“Be good to people on the way up (the corporate ladder) because you are bound to meet them on the way down.”

How’s life after investment banking

The high octane world of investment banking is a master of one’s time, almost on a 24/7 basis.

Personal sacrifices have to be made on family time and on the simple joy of stopping to smell the flowers. I am happily finding fresh fulfillment outside the industry.

Together with my husband, we are involved in community activities that include counselling trauma victims and helping people with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse problems. — Bloomberg

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