Gender bias toward alternative investments?

Who knew? According to a new study women are more disposed to hedge funds.

Few have likely considered the gender differences around attitudes toward hedge funds, but a new study from--no surprise--a U.S. hedge fund company suggests women are turning to non-traditional investments in greater numbers than men.

Who knew differences between men and women extended to asset selection? But such is the claim by MainStay Investments of New York. The company conducted the study, "Investing Outside the Box,” that finds high-net worth women are really into alternative investments.  Anthropologists, gender studies majors and cultural theorist take note.

Some of the key findings:
  • Of HNW women and men already invested in alternatives, women have a higher allocation to non-traditional investments than men (27% vs. 20%)
  • More than half of the women surveyed (55%) said that over the past year they have increased their allocations to alternative investments; more than a quarter (27%) of women say that within the next five years they plan to further add to their allocation.
  • More women than men see alternatives as a "mainstream" option and expect alternatives to become a core investment holding over the next 5-10 years (60% vs. 47%).
  • A majority of HNW women invested in alternatives have had a positive experience (58%) and would recommend alternatives to their peers(89%).
Matthew Leung, an employee of MainStay Investments, was quoted as saying that "This research suggests that high net worth women should be approached as goal-oriented, savvy investors with a long-term and growing interest in alternative investments. There is clearly a growing eagerness among high net worth women to explore the role of alternative investments in their portfolios, which translates into an opportunity for MainStay and the financial advisors we partner with."

That is, this company knows how to hustle when it comes to drumming up business. MainStay Investments is the mutual fund distribution arm of New York Life, one of the world’s larger insurance companies.