Overlook Women in Finance and You're Cheating Yourself


If you happen to be in the market for a hedge fund (lucky you!), you could do worse than to pick one headed up by a woman. A recent study suggests that in recent years, they’ve beat the competition.

That’s according to the New York Times, re: the results of a new report by business consulting firm Rothstein Kass, called “Women in Alternative Investments: A Marathon, Not a Sprint.” Analysts looked at 82 hedge funds either run or owned by women and found that from January 2007 to June 2013, they boasted an average 6 percent return, compared to a 1.1 percent drop in the broader HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index.

Last year, those 82 funds boasted a 9.8 percent return, beating 6.13 percent more broadly. In other words, anybody who lets stereotypes determine his investments is probably screwing himself over.

And yet, women still face a long, hard climb to the upper echelons of finance. For every Meredith Whitney, there are a whole lot more men in the business. The report also included a survey component, and the numbers are dismal:

Of the women surveyed, only 15.5 percent said their firm was owned or managed by a woman. Among hedge funds in particular, 21.4 percent were owned or managed by women.
About 42 percent of the respondents said their firm had no general partners who were women. And nearly 40 percent of the firms included in the survey had no women on their investment committees.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sallie Krawcheck—who runs networking org 85 Broads and once headed up Bank of America’s wealth management arm—said that “the math has been stagnant for some time, and in fact in the industry where I came from, diversity has taken a step backward.”

“There is meaningful alpha to be gained from investing in women-owned and -managed funds,” said Meredith Jones, who wrote the report. “There appear to be both behavioral and biological factors that impact women’s ability to manage money and make them consistent.” Or maybe it’s because when you’re a woman, it takes more than charisma and a polo shirt to convince people to hand over their money.

Image via Shutterstock

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