An Evening with Women in Asian Private Equity

On 7th March, Debevoise & Plimpton hosted a panel discussion entitled “Women in Asian Private Equity” in its Hong Kong office. The event was hosted by Hong Kong partner Andrew M. Ostrognai and introduced by London partner Katherine Ashton.

The panel discussion was chaired by Nisha Gopalan (Gadfly columnist at Bloomberg News), and featured:

  • Xihong Deng, Managing Director at Hony Capital
  • Stephanie Hui, Head of Merchant Banking, Asia Pacific (ex Japan) at Goldman Sachs
  • Suyi Kim, Managing Director, Head of Private Equity Asia at CPPIB
  • Hemal Mirani, Managing Director at HarbourVest Partners

The discussion encompassed a range of issues, including how the panelists began their careers in private equity, the role advisors and mentors (both male and female) have played in their career paths, and the challenges they have encountered in their respective roles, and in juggling family and other personal commitments with a challenging career, as well as the changes they have observed in the private equity industry generally, both in and out of Asia.

As well as anecdotes and observations, the panelists provided the all-female audience with some specific pieces of practical advice. For example, Suyi Kim stressed the importance of seeking a role model, mentor or sponsor, as well as the need to not hesitate in asking for help and support from senior staff and the wider organization.

Following the discussion, the audience participated in a lively question and answer session with the panelists before networking over drinks and canapés.

The event was attended by over 50 women at varying stages of their careers in the private equity industry, as well as various lawyers from the Debevoise team.

​​​The relative number of women in private equity has often been an issue of interest.  A recent study by Preqin indicated that the proportion of women in the private equity industry is slowly growing. According to the study, Asia-based private equity firms are leading the pack in terms of female senior employees, with women holding 11.9% of senior roles at Asia-based firms.  European and North American firms have also seen modest increases in the proportion of women employed in senior roles, to 10.2% and 10.5%, respectively.

Allison Lee is an associate in Debevoise’s Hong Kong Office.

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