Women account for fewer than one in 10 fund managers

Published by Marina Gerner on 17 June 2016.
Last updated on 17 June 2016

Only 8.5% of fund managers are women, according to research by Tilney Bestinvest. 

The investment group analysed UK retail investment funds and trusts and found that fewer than one in 10 fund managers are female.

Only 8.5% of fund managers are women, according to research by Tilney Bestinvest. The investment group analysed UK retail investment funds and trusts and found that fewer than one in 10 fund managers are female.

Although this figure is higher than the 7% identified last year, the increase is partially due to the fact that the latest analysis covered more sectors than last year's study.

In the recent survey, a number of smaller and more specialist sectors including China, tech and telecom and Japanese equities were found to have higher representation of women.

Not healthy

Commenting on the results, Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest, says: “Our analysis once again demonstrates that, despite a handful of high-profile women in senior management positions within the industry, front-line fund management positions are usually held by men.”

Gross gender imbalance in the asset management industry is an irrefutable fact - but the unanswered question, according to Hollands, is why this is the case when women represent a large ratio of university graduates and improved diversity is evident in many other professions?

For example almost half of GPs are women, one in four partners at law firms are now women, and the portion of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies is now 26%.

“Fund management is first and foremost a human capital industry, reliant on finding very bright and analytical people to look after other people's wealth.

“It's clearly not healthy for the long-term success of the industry to have such an extreme imbalance like this, because it suggests it is not effectively drawing upon the widest pool of talent,' says Hollands.

“There won't be a quick fix, but firms need to consider how they recruit at the graduate entry level, particularly in areas like research, which is often the key stepping stone into portfolio management

“If the industry shows it is serious about understanding this problem and addressing it, it will also speak with greater authority when engaging with company boards on matters of diversity.”

In April 2016, an academic study revealed that female hedge-fund managers tend to outperform their male counterparts. Other academic studies show that groups who consist of diverse members perform better than more homogenous groups.

This article was originally written for our sister publication, Money Observer.

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