FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: Singapore banks trail behind Malaysia in female board representation; Temasek joins US$75m funding of US biotech startup

And The Esplanade is seeking to raise $9m to build its $30m waterfront theatre.

From Bloomberg:

Women make up more than 30% of the boards of top Malaysian lenders, compared with only 9% on average in the Philippines, and 13% in Singapore, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Banks with more women on their boards tend to perform better in measures including return on assets when female participation reaches a “critical level” of between 13% and 17%, provided the banks are well capitalised, according to a February study published by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The outperformance of Malaysian banks is likely due to the country’s corporate governance code, which requires that women hold at least 30% of board seats at local firms, said Meggin Thwing Eastman, the Boston-based head of impact and screening research at MSCI Inc.

However, of all the 15 banks in the Bloomberg survey, the best performer was in Thailand, where a certain level of board representation for women isn’t compulsory with Bangkok-based Kasikornbank Pcl featuring seven female directors, or almost 40% of the 18-member board.

Read more here

From DealStreet Asia:

US-based clinical-stage biotechnology company Viela Bio has raised US$75m in a series B financing round backed by existing investor Singapore's state owned investment firm Temasek Holdings.

The funding round, led by global healthcare-focused fund HBM Healthcare Investments, was also jioned by new investors including Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, Terra Magnum Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs, and Barer & Son Capital. This Series B funding round brings the total capital of the company to more than US$300m, the firm said in the statement.

Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Viela Bio is a company pioneering and advancing treatments for severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases by selectively targeting shared critical pathways that are the root cause of disease.

Read more here

From Channel News Asia:

The Esplanade is launching a series of new fundraising initiatives to raise the remaining $9m needed for its $30m, 550-seat waterfront theatre.

The project, first announced in April 2017, will be named Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade for 15 years from its opening in 2021, in appreciation of the telco’s $10m donation last year. 

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) has also committed $10m to kickstart the effort and another $1m was raised through various events.

Read more here

Photo from Limtohhan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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