Asset managers fail to promote women despite performance

Women in the US fund management industry fail to get promoted at the same rate as their male counterparts regardless of performance, according to new academic research out of the University of California.

Researchers at the Graduate School of Management at Davis chose fund management to assess the role gender plays in workplace promotions because of the measurability of performance in the industry, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The research assessed records of 12,669 managers of active funds over the period from 1992 to 2016 and examined fund performance, cash flows and manager career paths, alongside, gender, nationality, higher education and whether they worked with co-managers.

The data showed women experienced poorer career prospects than their male counterparts, but that this was not explained by underperformance.

It also found countries with higher gender equality had proportionately more female fund managers than the US and women were more likely to permanently leave fund management than men with similar performance.

The research did not pinpoint the cause of bias that limited female fund manager promotions.

Associate professor Anna Scherbina, one of the paper’s researchers, says it is in investors’ best interests that fund managers are promoted on merit regardless of their gender.