Fund management industry failing to employ enough women

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Fund management lags other industries in the UK for gender equity and undermines shareholder engagement on the issue, says Tilney as its latest analysis on female representation reveals just 9.2 per cent of managers are women.

The figure is up from 8.5 per cent last year and is almost double the proportion found when the annual research was first released in 2013.

However, Tilney Group managing director Jason Hollands argues fund management lags the progress seen in other professions, citing law as an example, where one in five partners is female.

The research is based on analysis of UK retail investment funds across Investment Association sectors.

Hollands says: “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.”

Women now account for 26 per cent of board positions within FTSE 100 companies up from 12.5 per cent in 2010.