Number of female fund managers remains low

Only one in five investment funds in 56 countries has a female portfolio manager and that ratio has not improved in eight years, according to a study by Morningstar.

The company’s second research report about fund managers and gender considered more than 26,000 fund managers, comparing the man-to-woman ratio of fund managers to other professions that require similar education, including doctors and lawyers, by country. The report also identifies areas of the industry where women have been making relative gains.

“Women are underrepresented in mutual funds’ leadership ranks globally, with larger markets farther behind smaller markets,” Laura Pavlenko Lutton, Morningstar’s director of manager research in North America, said. “We did find areas where women are finding more opportunity, specifically among passive funds, funds of funds and team-managed funds. Larger equity firms are also more likely to promote women to fund-management roles than smaller firms.”

The report shows countries with large financial centres have lower proportions of women fund managers than many smaller markets. In France, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore and Spain at least 20 percent of fund managers are women. Singapore is the global leader among 56 countries with women representing 30 percent of total fund managers and 29 percent of Chartered Financial Analyst charterholders. Large financial centres, such as Brazil, India, Germany and the United States, are behind the global average of 12.9 percent women fund managers. In India, only 7 percent of fund managers are women. In the UK, that figure stands at 13.4 percent, up from 13.1 percent in 2008.

It says that in some asset classes, women fund managers are more credentialed than men. A woman fund manager is approximately seven percent and four percent more likely than a male peer to have her CFA designation among equity and fixed-income funds respectively.

The report also found that women have better odds of running funds in areas of industry growth such as passive, funds of funds and team-managed funds; women are 19 percent more likely to manage on a team than men. In addition, it appears difficult for women to achieve management roles in more-established parts of the fund industry, including actively managed funds and solo-managed funds. Women are 36 percent less likely to manage an active equity fund than men.

The report says the industry’s largest equity firms are more likely to name women as fund managers than smaller firms. Among funds at one of the top 10 largest firms by global equity assets under management, there are 83 percent higher odds that a woman would be named a fund manager.


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