Tuesday, 10th December 2019
Registration and refreshments
Opening keynote address
Senior manager insights: the value proposition of diversity in private equity
Worldwide, only 10% of women hold a senior position in the private equity industry. This is despite a growing body of evidence which shows that having diverse opinions and backgrounds can lead to better investment decisions and returns. In Asia, the conversation about diversity and inclusion in the asset class is slowly but surely shifting, with D&I committees being established, firms having a more formalized stance towards reporting on diversity, and an overall increase in awareness towards these issues. Our panel of seasoned private equity professionals will share their insights and experiences on what it takes to succeed as a senior woman in the industry, and what more needs to be done to continue to push the agenda in the right direction.
- Developments in the past year from a pan-Asian perspective—how has the conversation of diversity and inclusion moved along?
- What best practices and strategies are firms adopting to increase diversity and inclusion in the asset class, and what can Asian firms learn from their Western counterparts?
- How are investment teams engaging with portfolio companies to increase diversity and inclusion?
- How can men in private equity build a culture of support for their senior women colleagues in the industry?
Networking coffee break
Building an inclusive venture capital and entrepreneurial landscape
According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the venture capital industry has a blind spot: whilst most investors believe that the funding landscape is balanced, their investments into multicultural and female-led businesses prove otherwise. A lack of diversity in investment teams directly correlates to the number of women entrepreneurs receiving capital, and as such, in 2018, only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women-led startups. Yet, there is a numbers-driven case for investing in diverse businesses. Our panel leading investors and entrepreneurs will highlight the hurdles they have faced in the industry, share their experiences in fundraising, and their suggestions to bring about practical and meaningful change.
- Building the pipeline: the business case for increasing the number of women in senior investment teams and investing in female entrepreneurs
- How can the venture capital industry help create an inclusive environment for female entrepreneurs, including avoiding bias when evaluating female vs male founders?
- Case study of a VC firm in Asia that has invested into female-founded companies—where and what are the opportunities?
- What are some successful examples of female-founded funds in the region?
Data presentation: the latest statistics on diversity and inclusion
Fostering and formalizing a meaningful company culture
Building a positive corporate culture is crucial in retaining a diverse workforce, maintaining productivity and better long-term performance, and the culture of an organisation can be the determining factor as to why women may choose to stay with a firm. Whilst firms may establish D&I networks and set hiring and retention goals, it is important that this is not merely viewed as a check-box exercise, but rather, a firm’s efforts to create a tangible and practical support system for their female employees. Our panellists discuss how senior leadership can effectively enact the crucial behavioural and cultural changes needed to attract and retain female talent.
- How can senior men and women effect policy changes at their firm, and set the tone from the top?
- How can firms back up their commitment to diversity with action and meaningful progress, instead of treating it as a tick box exercise?
- At the hiring stage, how do firms ensure that the possibility of unconscious biases are eliminated?
- What are some firm diversity practices and programmes in Asia that are bringing about real, concrete change?
Creating an inclusive environment for young investment professionals
The private equity industry faces the challenge of women leaving at the mid-levels of their career. Increasing work, childcare demands, and cultural pressures in Asia are just a few factors that contribute to this leaking pipeline. It is therefore crucial that firms do not focus solely on getting women through the door, and instead have systems in place to support female associates and remove barriers to advancement. At the same time, senior leaders need to be mindful of generational divides that may prevent honest feedback and be open to reverse mentoring. Our interactive panel session will feature a mix of senior practitioners and the next generation of leaders who will offer their perspectives on these issues.
- How can PE firms lay the foundation of success for women beyond the associate level? What can they learn from other industries such as the financial services and consulting sectors?
- How can younger professionals build credibility in front of senior management teams? As a senior woman, what do you expect from junior members?
- Is there a generation gap between senior members and younger professionals at firms? What are young women in private equity looking for in terms of their career path and firm support?
- Senior insights: what would you tell your younger selves, and what would you have done differently?
Networking coffee break
LP roles on driving change in diversity
LPs can have a huge influence in driving GPs towards gender balance. According to an IFC report, 87% of surveyed LPs believe that gender diversity leads to better decision making, as well as greater employee retention, better corporate governance, and stronger long-term returns. Despite this, LPs have not taken significant action when it comes to influencing GP behaviour, although investors are slowly starting to place diversity on the agenda in terms of evaluating managers and pushing for change. Join our panel of leading LPs in a discussion of the best practices and recommendations for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
- How can LPs influence the behaviour of GPs when it comes to diversity, both at a firm and portfolio company level, and what are some challenges they face?
- What sort of questions about D&I should investors be asking GPs prior to committing capital, as well as at the post-investment stage?
- What can Asian LPs learn from Western LPs when making diversity efforts?
- Examples of goals and targets that LPs can set for their GPs
Roundtable discussion sessions
Moderated by industry leaders, these discussion groups will cover different facets of the industry to encourage discussion and debate between attendees.
- Cultivating your personal brand
- Recruitment insights—how to present yourself in interviews
- How to present yourself for a promotion and view your career from a wider perspective
- The importance of building a women’s network, and promoting networking both at work and outside the office
Close of conference and cocktail reception