First Metro promotes gender balance in investment banking

September 27, 2020

FIRST METRO Investment Corporation, the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group, was recognized in Asiamoney’s Leaders for Women 2020 survey with women employees accounting for more than half of its total workforce.

The survey, which recognizes the banks that have done the most to encourage women in the workplace across Asia’s financial markets, asked banks across the region to self-report the percentage of women employees they have across their bank; the percentage of women they have at two levels of seniority – managing director and above, and vice president or equivalent – and the percentage of women they hired in their most recent graduate intake.

The Asiamoney survey ranked First Metro among the top five banks in the Philippines, with women comprising 54 percent of its total employees. First Metro was the top investment bank in the country in the survey.

First Metro also had 41 percent of women in senior management positions, with 50 percent of vice presidents being women. Its recent hires from the last graduating batch were all women.

The proportion of women in First Metro is significant, especially in an Asian country where investment banking was considered a ‘man’s world’. According to an Asiamoney report, “sexism, grueling hours and a drinking culture are among the hurdles that senior female investment bankers in Asia have had to clear.”

But the barriers are starting to come down, says Asiamoney. Issuers, whether corporations or financial institutions, are becoming more aware of the importance of gender balance when it comes to choosing banks to execute deals.

“The investment banking market in the Philippines has been quick to recognize that women are just as hungry as men to get mandates, if not hungrier,” said Abigail Magpayo, First Metro first vice president and division head for Equity Capital Markets and Corporate Finance & Advisory.

Ms. Magpayo once led a team composed predominantly of women, while the rival teams from other banks were dominated by men, for an account pitch. First Metro won the mandate and helped its client to list last year.

“The client wanted that balance in diversity to get different perspectives,” she told Asiamoney, adding that the client picked her team because they listened more and asked more relevant questions.

“Gender equality or balance has never been an issue at First Metro and our employment statistics bear this out,” said First Metro president Jose Patricio Dumlao. “What are important are the qualifications and what the person can bring to the table, regardless of gender.”

“We are proud of our women employees and we continue to empower them. They have shown that like men, they have the capability to thrive and excel in the world of investment banking,” he said.