Fewer fund manager jobs going to females, research suggests

Study points to lack of progress over the past 20 years across multiple fund categories

Fewer fund manager jobs going to females, research suggests

Despite persuasive arguments for the benefits of increasing female representation among investment teams, the fund industry apparently still has a long way to go to increase gender diversity and inclusion among its ranks.

A new report from Morningstar has found that the net number of women joining the U.S. fund industry has remained flat or declined over the past 20 years. As noted in Barron’s, the research firm found that while the number of funds has risen from the year 2000 to 2019, the number of women fund managers has not kept pace. The upshot: a drop in the percentage of U.S. fund managers who are women from 13.8% to 11%.

Looking at specific fund categories, Morningstar found that women represented 13.4% of active fund managers and 19.4% of passive fund managers in the U.S. at the turn of the millennium; by 2019, those percentages had dropped to 10.7% and 13.2%, respectively.

A similar story played out among fixed-income funds; in that area, the percentage of female fund managers slid from 16% in 2000 to 11.4% in 2019. In the equity space, female representation went from 12.9% to 10.8%. Asset-allocation funds appeared to be the toughest territory for women, as they represented just 10.1% of the managers of such funds in 2019.

Morningstar’s latest findings were released in time with a new report by Preqin, which found a “modest but not insignificant” rise in female representation within the alternatives industry.

That report showed that as of 2019, women make up the minority of employees in the alternative assets industry around the world, though the figures were mostly larger than those Morningstar reported for fund managers in the U.S. industry. They include:

  • Percentage of female employees in the global alternative assets industry – 19.7%;
  • Percentage of alternatives fund manager jobs held by women in North America – 20.4%;
  • Representation of women at institutional investors – 27.8%;
  • Proportion of women among venture capital fund managers – 21.1%;
  • Proportion of women among real-asset fund managers – 19.6%; and
  • Proportion of women among private equity fund managers – 19.4%


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