Women still under-represented in fund management

A Morningstar report has found women are vastly outnumbered by men in the ranks of fund management, not only in absolute terms but also relative to other professional industries, and this ratio has not improved since 2008.

In all, across 26,340 funds in 56 countries surveyed by Morningstar, only around one in five funds are managed by women. Inversely, countries with large financial centres tend to have lower proportions of women fund managers than many smaller markets.

In France, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, and Spain, at least 20% of fund managers are women, with Singapore being a global leader (around 30% of fund managers are women). Moreover, in some asset classes, female managers are better qualified than their male counterparts.

There is a strong positive correlation between a fund firm’s size and the likelihood they employ women. Among funds at one of the top 10 largest firms by global assets under management, a woman’s odds of being named an equity fund manager are 1.83:1 relative to earning the same role at a smaller firm.

One global asset manager that stands out for its gender equality in fund management is Aberdeen Asset Management. As of December 2015, women accounted for 31.2% of equity portfolio managers at firm.

One area of improvement identified by the firm is fund size no longer being indicative of a manager’s gender. In 2008, Morningstar detected a gender bias among fund managers based on a fund’s assets under management relative to category peers. For fixed-income and allocation fund managers, women were more likely to be managing funds with fewer assets under management than their male peers.

In January 2008, the odds a woman would be managing the largest fund in a Morningstar Category were far worse than her odds of running the category’s smallest fund, decreasing to 0.83:1 for fixed-income funds and 0.49:1 for allocation funds. Since 2011, the odds have evened out; as of December 2015, the bias had disappeared entirely.

©2016 funds europe

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