Less than 10% of fund managers are female, study shows

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Fewer than one in 10 fund managers are female, trailing other professions such as law and medicine, a new study shows.

Women managing or co-managing Oeics, unit trusts and investment trusts account for just 8.5 per cent of fund managers, Tilney Bestinvest research shows.

In the largest five sectors – UK Equity Income, Mixed Investment, Corporate Bond, UK All Companies and Global – this drops to 7.8 per cent, with women slightly better represented in specialist sectors, such as China, Tech and Telecoms, and Japanese Equities.

Last year, the research only analysed the top five five sectors finding only 7 per cent of fund managers were female, meaning this year’s figures are slightly up. The UK Equity Income sector was the worst for diversity, with 95 per cent of funds run by men, while the Corporate Bond sector was the best at 8 per cent female managers.

Managing director at Tilney Bestinvest Jason Hollands says gender imbalance in the asset management industry is an “irrefutable fact”.

“The unanswered question is why this is the case when women represent a large ratio of university graduates and improved diversity is evident in many other professions? For example, almost half of GPs are women, one in four partners at law firms are now women and the portion of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies is now 26 per cent,” he says.

“It’s clearly not healthy for the long-term success of the industry to have such an extreme imbalance like this because it suggests it is not effectively drawing upon the widest pool of talent.”

Hollard urged firms to consider how they recruit at graduate level, particularly in areas such as research, which he describes as a “key stepping stone into portfolio management”.

“If the industry shows it is serious about understanding this problem and addressing it, it will also speak with greater authority when engaging with company boards on matters of diversity,” he says.