December 20, 2017

The Importance of Women in Investment Management

Although women make up 37% of doctors and 33% of lawyers in the U.S., fewer than 10% of all U.S. fund managers are women1 and women make up less than 17% of U.S. CFA Institute members.2 Men manage about 75% of the industry’s assets exclusively.3

Diversification is a critical key when it comes to successful investing, but it’s also important when it comes to investment management. Gender and racial diversity can bring a broader swath of experience, knowledge, and perspective to the table, potentially improving long-term outcomes. Particularly when it comes to gender diversity, women and men see the world differently, and invest differently, and a gender-diversified team can bring the best of both worlds to asset management. With women expected to control half the U.S.’s private wealth by 20204, it stands to reason that investment management decisions should have a healthy representation of female decision-makers.

So why is there such a massive gender gap in the investment industry? The career pipeline may account for some of it, with women deeply underrepresented in business school and as CFA charterholders. But the biggest issue is probably a cultural one; the industry has historically been largely populated and managed by men, and its structures and traditions are male-oriented. Ms. Chandoha of Charles Schwab says “It’s still a man’s world. ‘The industry is still male-dominated…I was at a mutual fund industry awards dinner, and there were tables for each firm. I was looking at another table that was all men, and was wondering if a woman would be comfortable at that table, and I thought not.’”5 Says Anne-Mette de Place Filippini of Burgundy Asset Management: “You have to be tough and really want it, and you probably have to be better. You are likely to be underestimated and need to develop a thick skin. The job of investing requires confidence – then add being different because you are a woman in a male-dominated environment on top of that.”6

Fortunately, there is a deliberate effort in the industry to change the balance and create greater gender diversification. Companies are actively recruiting women, setting up support networks and leadership groups, and even developing scholarships and internship programs for women in finance. MWIAM – More Women in Asset Management – is an organization dedicated to providing coaching and mentorship for young women considering careers as investment professionals. The CFA Institute has launched the Women in Investment Management Initiative, aiming to improve investor outcomes by encouraging diversity in the investment management profession. The initiative is designed to increase the number of women joining the industry, helping to shift the culture to be more welcoming to women, and creating a greater demand for diversity.

The goal of bringing more women to the asset management table is not just to balance the gender gap. It’s also about improving long-term outcomes. Women are known to be more risk-averse investors, on average, than men, and including that alternative viewpoint and approach in the investment process can be highly valuable, especially when it comes to building a long-term strategy designed to mitigate volatility. “If you can establish a level of trust and more room to be diverse, you have a big edge. It gives you strength because you invite in other points of view, and that opens your thinking to some of the opportunities and risks of a potential investment. This produces the best outcome,” says Anne-Mette de Place Filippini of Burgundy Asset Management.7

At Arnerich Massena, more than 40 percent of our investment advisors are women — 50% on our wealth management team — and females make up more than 30 percent of our principals (holding over 50% of ownership). We deeply believe that the team’s balance and diversity has benefited our clients with a broader range of expertise and perspectives. And we have found that advisory teams of both men and women can be more relatable for clients, especially as women are making more and more household financial decisions. We are proud to be at the vanguard of a concerted movement to bring more women into investment management, and look forward to seeing the progression continue.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic; in our next article, we’ll discuss how men and women invest differently, and why including both perspectives can be beneficial to portfolio construction.

 

1 “Morningstar Research Report: Fund Managers by Gender,” Morningstar; June 2015; http://corporate.morningstar.com/US/documents/ResearchPapers/Fund-Managers-by-Gender.pdf

2 “Gender Diversity in Investment Management,” CFA Institute Research Foundation; 2016; https://www.cfainstitute.org/learning/future/Documents/gender_diversity_report.pdf

3 “Morningstar Research Report: Fund Managers by Gender”

4 Ibid.

5 “Why aren’t there more women fund managers?” by John Waggoner, InvestmentNews; July 24, 2016; http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20160724/FREE/160729970/why-arent-there-more-women-fund-managers

6 “Women in Investment Management: Confidence, Compromise and Mentorship” Brown Brothers Harriman; December 5, 2016; https://www.bbh.com/en-us/insights/women-in-investment-management–confidence–compromise-and-mentorship/18948