Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, today announces the launch of the Singapore Board Diversity Index, developed in partnership with the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) and supported by BoardAgender.
The inaugural and the first of its kind, Board Diversity Index, tracks primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange that embrace diversity on their corporate boards and benchmarks them against eight dimensions. These include gender, age, tenure, board independence, cultural ethnicity, international experience, domain expertise and industry knowledge. Based on data as at 30 June 2019 from 704 companies with primary-listing on the SGX, the firms are categorised into Large-Cap, Mid-Cap, Small-Cap and Real-estate Investment Trusts and Business Trusts in the ranking.
Shai Ganu, Managing Director and Executive Compensation Global Practice Leader, Willis Towers Watson said, “Companies in the past may have focused on physical attributes of diversity such as gender and age. However, progressive companies focus on ensuring diversity of thought and experiences on the Board. Directors with diverse backgrounds bring different perspectives and ideas that avoid group-think and help to enhance the board’s deliberations and decision-making process.”
Adrian Chan, Vice Chair of the Singapore Institute of Directors said, “SID is extremely pleased to be a part of this initiative to highlight the importance of board diversity and its different aspects towards making boards more effective. A cognitively diverse board brings different experiences and views to the table, and is a cornerstone of good corporate governance. Just as important, the contention of ideas in a diverse group has to be constructive, to foster more wide-ranging discussions, leading to better decisions and enhanced, sustained business performance.”
Singtel Chairman Lee Theng Kiat said, “We believe a diverse board is critical to good corporate governance and strategic oversight, and are honoured that the Singapore Board Diversity Index has recognised Singtel’s commitment. Given today’s fast-changing economic, business and technology landscape, the breadth of perspective, expertise and backgrounds on the Board allows us to better identify and evaluate significant opportunities and risks, resulting in better decision-making and outcomes. We constantly seek to ensure that our Board reflects the society that we operate in to best represent our stakeholders, creating an environment that allows for issues to be objectively addressed.”
The Board Diversity Index is based on insights from research and studies conducted by Willis Towers Watson. Instead of focusing on a single diversity metric, the overall diversity score focuses on eight different attributes of board diversity, and gives a more holistic view of a Board’s diversity attributes.
“Companies have the transformative power and social responsibility to contribute to a more open, diverse and inclusive society. We all need to play a role in helping to collectively champion the change. A diverse board sets the tone at the top of the organization,” added Shai.