The new CEO Club advancing female leaders in finance in APAC

The club is brings together C-suite female executives from the entire Asia-Pacific region
Bain is rolling out its exclusive CEO Club to APAC convening female leaders in financial services to innovate, collaborate and spearhead industry change

While women in finance are chipping away at the glass ceiling, progress of women in senior management across financial services has been slow – from 31% in 2018 to 32% in 2020.

But Bain is on a mission to change that, with its pioneering, industry-first Stratos initiative.

Launched in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2022, the initiative is now being rolled out to Asia-Pacific.

The aim? To accelerate the journey toward gender parity in financial services and help shape the 2050 World Economic Forum themes.

Bain research in EMEA shows fewer than one-third of CEOs in financial services are women, while just 20% of executive committee members were women. And the number of women CEOs is growing at just 1-2% a year.

At this rate of progress, the industry can’t and won’t achieve gender parity until 2050.

“It was this stark truth and the realisation of that challenge and the need for more ambitious action to take it that led us to create Stratos as a community for C-suite women in finance,” says Nishma Gosrani OBE, a London-based partner in Bain’s Financial Services practice and the founder and leader of Stratos.

Nishma Gosrani OBE is the founder and leader of Bain's Stratos CEO Club

Since its inception in EMEA last year, the CEO Club has grown rapidly in its membership with CEOs and C-suite members from financial firms across the region.

Among members of the club in EMEA, Jennifer Trippin, Chief People and Transformation Officer at NatWest Group, Barbara Sessa, SVP Digital Consumer Products Europe at Mastercard, and Amanda Blanc, Group CEO Avivia, who champions the club as providing “crucial support and encouragement for the amazing women who will b the financial services leaders of the future”.

Blanc’s membership of the club is significant given her leading role in advancing female finance leaders. She was appointed the UK Treasury’s Women in Finance Champion by the British Government in March 2021 and plays a key role in the promotion of the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.

CEO Club – a first for the APAC region

As it has in the EMEA region, this unique members-only club is now looking to drive the gender parity conversation across APAC, and to spearhead thought leadership on the most pressing concerns in the sector and wider society – from diversity and cybersecurity to decarbonisation and issues impacting emerging markets.

Operating as an exclusive network, the club serves as a unique space for women leaders in financial services to learn from one another and collaborate – in a way that is hasn’t been available in the region.

The club brings together C-suite female executives from the entire region, including Singapore, Australia, India, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, to expand their networks, discover shared ambitions, and champion the next generation of female leaders.

Among those on board, Su Shan Tan, Group Head of Institutional Banking at DBS Bank and Anusha Thavara, Regional CEO for APAC at Allianz, attended the recent launch event for the club in Singapore.

Su Shan Tan, Group Head of Institutional Banking at DBS Bank, has joined the Stratos CEO Club in APAC

Participation is limited to female CEOs in APAC, with members gathering at least once a year in the region.

Alongside the Club is the Stratos Academy, an invitation-only network of inspiring, high-potential women leaders from across financial services charged with shaping and supporting the future industry CEOs.

Already launched in EMEA, the Academy is also rolling out in Asia-Pacific limited to 100 women. Participants will come together for training programmes both in-person and virtual with one-on-one coaching and guidance.

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