The number of female fund managers remains stubbornly low

3rd June 2015


The proportion of female retail fund managers and co-managers has remained stuck at 7% over the past year, new analysis reveals.

In its third annual analysis of the proportion of UK retail investment funds, such as OEICs and unit trusts, managed by women, Tilney Bestinvest has found no progress in improving industry diversity over the last year.

The firm estimates that just 7% of funds are managed or co-managed by women, a figure unchanged from the previous year.

Tilney Bestinvest’s assessment is based on analysis of the five largest Investment Association sectors. The research shows that the percentage of funds currently run by women ranges from just 5% in the UK Equity Income sector to 9% in the Mixed Investment 40-85% sector.

The remaining three Investment Association sectors under scrutiny revealed an estimated8% of women fund managers in the Corporate Bond sector; 7% in the UK All Companies sector and 7% in the Global sector.

The figures reflect a large disparity compared to the number of women represented in senior positions in other professions, as well as the proportion of women represented on the boards of FTSE 100 companies, where women currently account for 23.5% of positions.

Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest, says: “Despite a handful of high-profile women in senior management positions within the industry, front-office positions continue to be male-dominated and dramatically out of line with the proportion of women graduating from universities.  Improving the diversity of the industry so that it draws on the widest pool of talent, requires firms to address this issue when seeking to attract graduate trainees into the industry.”

Helena Morrissey CBE, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and chair of the Investment Association, adds “The lack of progress is very disappointing but sadly not a surprise. As an industry we need to do a better job explaining what we actually do, including our social purpose, so that new ‘types’ of people might be attracted to fund management.

“Cognitive diversity is such an important aspect of building great teams – including teams of investors. Gender diversity is a key place to start building those broader perspectives since men and women do think and behave differently – we complement each other. It’s time to redouble our efforts to do something about this.”

Leading women fund managers

Despite the gross under representation of women in the fund management industry, the profession nevertheless has some strong role models according to Tilney Bestinvest.

Amongst those highlighted for their strong career track records are Paola Binns (Royal London Sterling Credit), Lesley Duncan (Standard Life UK Ethical), Julie Dean (TM Sanditon UK), Christine Johnson (Old Mutual Corporate Bond), Margaret Lawson (SVM UK Growth), Sue Round (Ecclesiastical Amity UK), Audrey Ryan (Kames Ethical Equity), and Catherine Stanley (F&C UK Smaller Companies, F&C Responsible UK Income, F&C Responsible UK Equity Growth).

Up and coming names to watch include Anna Lunden (Montanaro European Mid-Cap), Irina Miklavchich (Threadneedle Global Emerging Markets Equity), Malika Gulabani (F&C Global Bond) and Sophie Bosch (JP Morgan).

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