Awards for Distinction 2011 – Diversity Issues


APB-AFD-BestPrivateBankLGBTDI

UBS Wealth Management

Hayden Majajas

Hayden Majajas

Head of Diversity, Asia Pacific
UBS Wealth Management

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) initiatives are typically not very high on the list of priorities for private banks in Asia. However, with the fight to attract and retain talent intensifying, private banks in the region are realising that being “LGBT-friendly” makes good business sense. A fair and respectful work environment is essential for any business but in the service industry it assumes far greater significance since people are an organisation’s most important asset.

Innumerable studies have linked a fulfilling work environment and supportive hiring and progression policies to increased productivity. For these and more altruistic reasons, a number of private banks in Asia are creating diversity blueprints that articulate how their organisations will support a diverse work culture – whether it is through targeted recruitment drives, supportive maternity and paternity leave policies, increased understanding of same-sex partnerships and their implications on employee benefits.

Some banks are further along the learning curve and have already standardised their human resource policies to a globally accepted best practices standard. These banks have proactively reached out to their employees and tried to understand and address their needs regardless of whether the local law compelled them to do so or not.

UBS Wealth Management, the deserved winner of this year’s Asian Private Banker Awards for Distinction – LGBT & Diversity Issues, is one such bank – its diversity policy in Asia is perhaps the most robust manifestation of its global diversity drive. One of the few private banks in the region to have an explicitly articulated diversity program for the region, UBS has four regional heads for diversity globally and several bankers engaged full-time in diversity roles. It is also the founding firm behind the Hong Kong LGBT Interbank Forum which was established in 2006.

A similar initiative was introduced in Singapore in August 2010. When questioned about UBS’s focus on diversity in a region where the law does not require the bank to explicitly support LGBT employees, Hayden Majajas, head of diversity for Asia Pacific does not hesitate with his answer. “A diverse and inclusive workforce enables us to better serve our clients and to create an environment in which all of our employees, regardless of background, can contribute to their fullest potential,” he affirms. “There is still much more to be done and we are committed to harnessing the power of diversity and inclusion.”