This is the eighth edition of our 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds report and is published in association with EY for the seventh time. Whilst Covid-19 has denied us the opportunity to host accompanying events in London and New York, at least this year, the professional achievements of the women featured in this year’s report shine through, nonetheless. We are so pleased to be publishing this report just a few days after Kamala Harris made history by becoming the first female, first black and first Asian-American US Vice-President-elect.
Previous reports have sometimes repeated two or three names from earlier reports, most notably where the women in question have enjoyed a significant promotion – either within their current firm or as part of a move to a new firm – or have founded their own firm. With one exception, all the women featured in this year’s report are new names.
Previous reports have sometimes repeated two or three names from earlier reports. With one exception, all the women featured in this year’s report are new names.
However, a good number of the firms featured in this year’s report have provided honorees before. Firms such as BNP Paribas, Bridgewater Associates, Citadel, D. E. Shaw, GAM Systematic Cambridge, Millennium Management, Northern Trust, Pictet Asset Management, Point72, Simmons & Simmons and Tudor Investment Corporation have featured before, largely because these firms seem to be particularly good at hiring and promoting lots of women into senior roles. In this year’s report we also feature women from firms who last featured some years back, namely Angelo Gordon (in 2010) and Brevan Howard (in 2013).
Firms appearing in this report for the first time include Beach Point Capital Management, Capstone Investment Advisors, Dalton Investments, Houlihan Lokey, Indus Capital, Janus Henderson, LibreMax Capital, Lone Pine, M&G, Mudrick Capital, Odey Asset Management, One William Street, Quantica and Quantitative Brokers.
Some 23 of the women featured this year are investment professionals, whilst 27 are in non-investment roles including compliance, legal, audit, operations, finance, administration, sales, marketing and investor relations.
Eight of the women in this year’s report work for four of the top five most profitable hedge fund managers of all time – according to LCF Edmond de Rothschild analysis – namely Bridgewater Associates, Citadel, Lone Pine and D. E. Shaw. The two Lone Pine women in this year’s report are two of the three portfolio managers who succeeded Lone Pine’s founder Steve Mandel. Three of the report’s discretionary equity portfolio managers specialize in the healthcare and biotechnology sector, which has attracted more attention this year for obvious reasons. Four of the investment professionals work for systematic and quantitative hedge fund managers, which is notable given the general dearth of women in STEM. Another noteworthy cluster is three women managing multi-billion amounts in liquid credit strategies.
Women in the report sit on a wide variety of committees including: management, operating, executive, risk management, compliance, brokerage, conflicts, technical standards, capital allocation, steering, valuation and ESG. Some women sit on as many as five committees. Many of the honorees also sit on diversity and inclusion councils or committees. These often overlap with a proliferation of affinity groups and networks, which can cover: women, parenting, LGTBQ, disabilities, and multiple ethnic and/or racial groups, which can include Black/African/Caribbean, Hispanic or Latin, and others such as multicultural. These groups may sometimes exist exclusively for employees, but increasingly they are also reaching out into the wider community for different reasons: sometimes they dovetail with corporate or personal philanthropy or voluntary work, and in other cases the objective is to promote more diverse recruitment. Hiring drives may centre around universities but they can also start earlier to pique young people’s interest in studying STEM or finance related subjects.
An analysis of the S&P Composite 1500 found that firms with women at the top were worth on average $40 million more than those without
Advanced university study is a rarity in the list. The plurality of the fifty did not pursue university study beyond bachelor’s level, and the MBA remains the most frequent postgraduate qualification. There are at least four CFA charterholders and two CAIA charterholders on the list, which only contains three women with a PhD: one economist, one quantitative portfolio manager and a valuation expert.
New York and London are unsurprisingly the most popular locations but we have cast the net into Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, Minneapolis and Los Angeles in the US; Dublin and Zurich in Europe, and Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia to identify these names.
A diverse workforce is one dimension of internal ESG/CSR policies, and several women on both the investment and non-investment sides were keen to talk to us about their respective firm’s evolving ESG policies. These can range from customized mandates excluding certain sectors to engagement with companies. Some firms are even publishing their own ESG related research. This is clearly a growth area, not least as opinion polls suggest that female investors are more concerned about ESG.
The standard disclaimer applies. This alphabetically ordered report is not a ranking per se, but rather a selection of senior women who should serve to inspire others. As a trade publication, occasionally we have to overlook women whose employers eschew any media coverage. Many of those omitted from this report are worthy candidates and may well feature in future reports. We have also received a large number of nominations for women who do not yet seem quite senior enough, but they could well “graduate” to leading women status quite soon as they ascend the career ladder. Many female portfolio managers running very small amounts of money (sometimes outside a fund or corporate structure) could also be considered if they grow assets, form or join a firm. We are keen to monitor such women – and we may be able to feature them in future reports.
As the leading global provider of services to alternative funds, EY is proud to sponsor this edition of the 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds report. We congratulate this extraordinary and inspiring group of honorees who have been selected by The Hedge Fund Journal. In this incredibly challenging year, one that saw the Covid-19 global pandemic, unforeseen natural disasters and social unrest across the world, we especially want to commend these women on their achievements during this period of disruption and uncertainty.
According to EY research, gender-diverse leadership is closely linked to an organization’s ability to innovate and to generate profits. An analysis of the S&P Composite 1500 found that firms with women at the top were worth on average $40 million more than those without. Meanwhile, the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that boards with 30% or more women could add up to 6% to their net margins. The evidence is clear. Having more women in senior roles helps businesses to innovate and perform better.
EY is a leader in innovation and for its exceptionally diverse and inclusive culture. Continuing to put purpose into practice, EY is one of the first professional services organizations to launch talent programs for neurodiverse individuals, such as people with autism. Our Neurodiversity Centers of Excellence, in locations across the US, further galvanizes the EY commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging — and demonstrates they are critical factors to business innovation and a better working world.
Please join us in congratulating the truly exceptional women featured in the 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds 2020 report. As they thrive in their roles, these leading women are not only making a mark in this industry; their success and visibility are paving the way for more women and underrepresented professionals to follow their path.