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Tuesday April 23rd, 2024

NDB Capital Holdings’ Inclusive, Holistic Approach to Diversity

Senaka Kakiriwaragodage, Chief Executive of NDB Capital Holdings (NCAP), sheds light on the group’s endeavours to cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion across its companies and the broader community. He outlines specific measures aimed at fostering gender diversity, particularly in leadership roles, and ensuring equitable opportunities for women to progress and thrive in their careers within the group.

NCAP encompasses a consortium of companies operating within the realm of capital markets, including NDB Capital Holdings Limited, NDB Investment Bank Limited, NDB Wealth Management Limited, NDB Securities Private Limited, NDB Zephyr Partners Lanka Private Limited, and NDB Capital Limited – Bangladesh.

“Embracing a gender-blind approach, the NCAP group prioritizes talent acquisition based on merit, irrespective of gender. Given our status as companies reliant on intellectual capital, it remains imperative to select the most qualified individuals for each role,” Senaka says.

“Our policies, procedures, and practices are meticulously crafted and implemented to ensure equal opportunities for all genders. Through clearly defined policies and an inclusive environment, we strive to eradicate unconscious bias at every level,” he says.

Across the NCAP group, opportunities for advancement are solely merit-based, with performance serving as the primary criterion. Currently, 35% of its leadership positions are occupied by females, reflecting NCAP group’s commitment to gender diversity in key decision-making roles. “Furthermore, our overall female representation within the group stands at 51%, underscoring our dedication to fostering an inclusive organizational culture,” Senaka notes.

How have these initiatives contributed to increasing female representation in key decision-making positions within the group? What other outcomes can you share?

Many of our crucial decision-making roles are occupied by women across various levels of seniority. These positions include Chief Investment Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Assistant Vice Presidents. These women leaders oversee diverse business functions such as debt and equity capital transactions, fund management, and stock brokering operations. For instance, our largest mutual fund, the NDB Wealth Money Fund, with assets exceeding Rs210 billion, is managed by a female fund manager. Additionally, key group functions like Compliance and HR are led by female employees.

Among the female members of our Senior Management team, 64% have dedicated over 10 years to their roles at NCAP. Many of them started their journey with us directly after university through our campus recruitment programmes, initially joining as interns. Over the years, they have advanced through the ranks, both personally and professionally, within our organization, benefiting from our merit-based approach to opportunities.

Are there any notable strategies or best practices that have proven effective in fostering a culture of inclusivity and gender equality within the organization?

Our recruitment policies prioritize skills and competencies, welcoming back female employees after career breaks. They excel within our organization, validating our recruitment processes.  In an environment where intellectual capital drives our competitive edge, we emphasize continuous upskilling and reskilling for all. In 2023, half of our training hours were dedicated to female employees.

Our compensation policy is merit-based, ensuring equal pay for equal work and fostering fairness, and we offer a flexible work environment, accommodating personal and family commitments for a balanced life. Our initiatives extend to employees’ families, strengthening bonds through annual trips and year-end parties, fostering a sense of community.

What role does the NCAP group play in driving broader societal change in gender equality and women empowerment? 

Our CSR initiatives are centred around education, as we firmly believe that education stands as one of the most potent means to eradicate all forms of inequality in society. Through the NDB Capital Scholarship Trust Fund, we offer scholarships to undergraduates from government universities, prioritizing a selection process that guarantees equal opportunity to individuals of all genders and ethnic backgrounds. Over the past five years, 45% of the total scholarships awarded have been granted to female university students, reflecting our commitment to gender equality and inclusivity.