To celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to highlight the achievements of women leaders/ co-leaders of portfolio management teams that have provided their institutional investors with consistent active returns over the index. We reviewed the global large-cap equity, US large-cap equity, non-US large-cap equity, and emerging markets equity peer groups in the Investment Metrics global database. From this sample of investment portfolios, we were also able to get an idea of women representation as a lead/ co-lead portfolio manager compared to the peer group.
The data for this analysis came from the Investment Metrics global database, which collects portfolio information from asset managers. We utilized the Manager Research platform, a web-based tool to do asset manager comparative analytics against benchmarks and peers.
We examined the calendar year gross active returns against style benchmarks for the global large-cap equity, US large-cap equity, non-US large-cap equity, and emerging markets equity asset manager peer groups from 2012 to 2021. The benchmarks used include the MSCI AC World style indices (global large-cap), Russell 1000 style indices (US large-cap), MSCI AC World ex. US style indices (non-US large-cap), and the MSCI Emerging Markets style indices (emerging markets). The style indices (core, growth, and value) were used to ensure that active managers were being compared to their most relevant benchmark.
Of the 353 portfolios across 176 firms (see Appendix), 50 had a woman in the lead or co-lead portfolio management position, or 14%. The non-US large-cap equity sample of active managers had the most impressive representation at 17%. It is well known that the investment management industry is dominated by males, but we are finding that more and more asset management firms are adopting a diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy to address these deficiencies. In fact, 33% of the asset managers we reviewed had a D&I initiative published on their websites.
In closing, the investment management industry is clearly not where it needs to be with regards to gender equity, but it is heading in the right direction. Institutional investors could accelerate this process if they drive a substantial amount of assets towards quality women-led investment portfolios, like the ones mentioned above. Asset management firms tend to respond rapidly when institutional investors, who have all the assets, start directing money towards particular strategies.
Firms included in the analysis: