A lot of companies talk about their commitment to young female talent and fostering diverse leaders.
But the reality is a lot of it is just talk. According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the percentage of women on boards in the ASX200 was just 36 per cent in February 2023. Across Asia, the figure is closer to 20 per cent.
I joined ANZ as a graduate in 2015 and have always felt supported in my career development. I was fortunate to start my career at ANZ and I can truly say I’m proud to be a banker. My colleagues and I sometimes joke I might start bleeding blue.
ANZ’s ongoing work on diversity, particularly around women in leadership, has been critical and I have many senior female role models to look up to. The bank has also made its commitment to developing young staff very clear.
It's one thing to promote a commitment to diversity but ANZ really puts it in to practice – including nominating me for the Sibos Talent Accelerator Route (STAR) program for 2023.
Sibos is the world’s premiere financial services conference held in different cities globally each year. The STAR scholarship is designed to empower professional women, accelerating their skills and self-confidence as future leaders in financial services. Held during the conference, it includes educational, mentoring and thought-leadership opportunities.
The scholarship gives me an opportunity to participate in this year’s Sibos event in Toronto in September – my first trip overseas for a conference. As a STAR participant, I’ll be involved in various showcases aimed at elevating my profile. I am also looking forward to meeting the other STAR participants – there are 33 of us in this year’s cohort from 13 countries.
Representing ANZ is a big responsibility I don’t take lightly. Part of me is proud, but also very nervous. More than 12,000 leaders attend Sibos from all across the world and the conference aims to have equal gender representation for presenters. I think that’s a really promising step.
For ANZ, our focus is on the most important thing: our customers. We’re there to speak to them about what they need, to see what best practice looks like from others and how we can collaborate better. That means attending a lot of meetings. In my role, my clients are financial institutions and my primary responsibility is trade risk distribution.
The schedule can get a little overwhelming but we're lucky we have a coordinator who has it all laid out in a gigantic spreadsheet. It will be a fascinating experience.
Working at ANZ has broadened my perspective on banking, but also the world. When I joined ANZ, I was in Australia where ANZ is one of the ‘big four’ banks. Then I moved to Singapore for my current role, where I realised ANZ was just one of many banks.
I’m hoping Sibos will broaden my perspective further. In a rapidly changing sector, it will be so interesting to hear from the so many global experts and use those lessons to help ANZ customers.
It has been so interesting to watch how quickly banking has evolved in recent years. For me what’s most fascinating is how the development of technology has challenged and disrupted traditional methods of banking. It forces us, as bankers, to continually be on the lookout and banks like ANZ must take the steps necessary to keep up.
The conference theme this year is “collaborative finance in a fragmented world”, with a focus on working together to create sustainable and inclusive finance. To me, forward thinking about how we continue to operate in a sustainable way is very important.
Other themes will include technological developments in banking including artificial intelligence, as well as ESG standards, cross-border payments and geopolitical considerations that could impact the financial industry.
I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.
Sheila Hie is a Director, Trade Portfolio & Capital Management at ANZ Institutional