Presence of female fund managers doubles over a five year period

In its fifth annual analysis of the proportion of UK retail investment funds, such as OEICs and unit trusts, managed or co-managed by women, leading investment group Tilney has estimated that the number of funds managed by female managers has risen to 9.2%, up from 8.5% last year. Tilney’s analysis looked at funds across all of the Investment Association sectors and includes funds managed on a team rather than named manager basis.

Jason Hollands, Managing Director at Tilney Group commented:

“The representation of women in front line fund management positions remains very low and lags the progress seen in many other professions, with one in five partners at law firms now women. However, the representation of women in frontline fund management roles is clearly rising: when we commenced this analysis in 2013 our research estimated that just 5% of all funds were managed or co-managed by female fund managers, so the percentage of identifiable female fund managers has doubled over the last five years.

“Fund management is first and foremost a human capital industry, reliant on finding very bright and analytical staff to look after other people’s wealth. It’s clearly not healthy for the long term success of the industry to have such an imbalance like this because it suggests it is not effectively drawing upon the widest pool of talent.

“There isn’t a quick fix as ultimately there are a finite number of funds and incumbent managers can remain in situ for many years before passing on the baton to a successor. But firms can make a difference when recruiting at the graduate entry level and especially in areas like research which is often the key stepping stone into portfolio management.

“Achieving improved gender diversity will also enable the fund management industry to speak with greater authority when engaging with company Boards on matters of diversity as many firms seek to do as active shareholders. Here, there has been notable progress since the publication of the Davies Report* in 2011 with women now accounting for 26% of Board positions at FTSE 100 companies, up from 12.5% in 2010.”