insight magazine

When Women Invest, Investments Win

Women hedge fund managers are proving they're better investors than their male counterparts. By Derrick Lilly | Digital Exclusive - 2018


Need more evidence of women’s outperformance in business and finance? Look no further than the alternative investments world. In yet another male-dominated industry widely known for its “boys’ club” culture, women are again proving they deserve a seat at the head of the table — or atop a company’s treasury and investment strategies.

The HFRI Women Index, which tracks the performance of hedge funds exclusively managed by women, has bettered the industry average return over the last decade, rising more than 70 percent since 2007 compared to just 50 percent for hedge funds across all strategies and genders.

Here again, despite their remarkable outperformance, recruitment firm DHR International says women represent just 14 percent of partner-level positions in global hedge funds. In fact, many of the world’s most high-profile hedge funds count few or no women in portfolio management positions. KPMG’s "Women in Alternative Investments" report, published in December 2016, found women hold no positions at the investment committee/board levels at 25 percent of hedge funds in the UK and Europe and 44 percent of hedge funds in North America.

Further illustrating their limited inclusion, of the roughly 2,000 hedge funds in HFRI’s general indices, only 47 qualify for inclusion in the HFRI Women Index, whose assets account for less than 1 percent of total assets managed by the hedge fund industry.

Backed by statistically strong performance, one must question why women again need to raise calls for greater equality and inclusion in an industry where their impact is proven. The smart money should know better.

This article is part of the INSIGHT Special Feature "The Culture Conflicts." To explore more about the cultural challenges within the accounting and finance profession, and hear more about the business case for bring more women into the leadership ranks, download the full report or read the other articles in the series: "Women: What Our Business Models Are Missing" and "Work-Life Imbalanced."

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