Fund industry frozen in female deficit

 — 1 minute read

In almost 20 years, there has been no movement in the representation of women in fund management, new data has captured in time for International Women’s Day.

Morningstar has determined the gender of more than 25,000 fund managers using information provided by their companies, across 56 countries. 

At the end of 2019, the report showed 14 per cent of fund managers were women, the same proportion as at the end of 2000. 


Typically, smaller markets were seen to have a higher percentage of female fundies, with countries including Hong Kong, Singapore having more than 20 per cent of their fund managers being women. 

However, in Australia, only 12 per cent of fund managers are female.

Some of the largest financial centres have remained below the global average, including the UK (13 per cent) and the US (11 per cent).

Morningstar recently reported there are more funds run by men named David or Dave than women in the UK. 

“The gender gap is a chasm in the fund industry, caused likely by a complicated combination of structural barriers and implicit biases,” the Morningstar analysis noted.

“But it has nothing to do with ability, as demonstrated in our 2018 study showing that the gender of fund managers doesn’t affect investment performance.”

Comparing active and passive fund managers, there are more women working in passive investment. 

At the end of 2019, 13.23 per cent of passive managers were women, in contrast to 10.69 per cent of active managers. 

Both figures had dropped from 2000 – when 13.4 per cent of active managers and 19.43 per cent of passive managers were women. While the total number of fundies has grown, diversity has stagnated.

Across asset classes in 2019, 11.35 per cent fixed-income fund managers were women in comparison to 10.84 per cent of equity fund managers and 10.11 per cent of allocation fund managers. 

In 2000, the figures were 15.97 per cent of fixed-income fund managers, 12.89 per cent of equity, 12.53 per cent of allocation.

As diversity was lacking in the sector, the largest fund companies varied in their proxy voting for gender-related resolutions from 2018 to 2019. 

BlackRock for example, supported 9 per cent of diversity-related resolutions across its holdings, 7 per cent of gender pay equity resolutions and none of any workplace sexual harassment complaints governance resolutions.

PIMCO on the other hand backed 100 per cent of diversity-related resolutions, 98 per cent of gender pay equity proxies and 85 per cent of workplace sexual harassment complaints governance resolutions.


Fund industry frozen in female deficit
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].


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