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The Realist: Lisa Robins, Standard Chartered

Lisa Robins is one of the most senior women in banking in Asia, a rare example of a global business head for a multinational bank being based in the region.

Robins runs the global transaction services business for Standard Chartered out of Singapore, and has previously held senior leadership positions at JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.

In her time at the top, she has accumulated some conclusions about why so few others have joined her. She says there has been progress — but not enough.

"You have a good proportion of senior women running trade finance and cash globally,” she says. “But do I think we should declare victory? Absolutely not.”

“On gender, there are two approaches,” says Robins. “One is the pragmatic approach: women need executive presence training. Well, everybody needs executive presence training.”

The problem there, she says, is a question of perception, not of women’s ability. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the judges have not been the women, they have been men.”

Lisa Robins_400.jpg
Lisa Robins

She tires of hearing of special programmes for women to ensure they have gravitas, a word, she says, she “would like to erase from the human vocabulary”.

The second, and softer, approach is developing more informal mentorships, giving women the opportunities to succeed or fail. That, in turn, can be encouraged in two ways, she says: one is goodwill, and the other is target setting.

“We’ve

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