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Hedge funds run by women outperforming those run by men, shows new data

Only about 10% of UK fund managers are female

Josie Cox
Business Editor
Monday 18 September 2017 08:59 BST
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Women still face several disadvantages in the industry, including a lack of visibility, according to experts
Women still face several disadvantages in the industry, including a lack of visibility, according to experts (Reuters)

An index measuring the performance of hedge funds run by women dramatically outperformed a gauge for a broader range of funds during the first half of the year, data has revealed.

The HFRX Women index, which pulls together data for female hedge fund managers, returned 9.95 per cent during the first seven months of this year, according to data compiled by the Financial Times.

The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite index, which measures the performance of hedge funds across all strategies and genders, returned just 4.81 per cent, according to the paper.

Women are still dramatically under-represented across the wider investment management world, but the latest data echoes similar statistics that have in the past shown that female-run hedge funds do better than male-run ones – even over longer time frames.

Helena Morrissey, who heads up personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management, told the Financial Times that, although the latest HFRX data only looks at a short timeframe, other research has in the past found that women are “at least as good as men” when investing.

Nicole Boyson, associate professor of finance at Northeastern University in Boston, told the paper that while it is hard to say unequivocally that women make better hedge fund managers than men, “we can say pretty definitively that women are not worse performers”.

She also said that women still face several disadvantages in the industry, including a lack of visibility.

Citing a report-co-authored by Professor Boyson, The Wall Street Journal last year reported that women are struggling to get their hands on capital, partly because of the low level of news media attention that the funds they run get compared to those run by their male counterparts.

The research found that funds run by women tend to be smaller than those run by men and also showed that fewer than one in 20 hedge funds employed a female portfolio manager.

According to the Financial Times, only about 10 per cent of UK fund managers are female.

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