In SA, female representation at fund manager level has stagnated

Asset managers are more and more backing numerous groups however gender parity in funding roles may nonetheless be a lifetime away.

While the proportion of ladies within the Citywire fund manager database has risen from 10.3% in 2016 to 11.8% in 2021, at this rate gender parity will solely be reached in 127 years.


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That is a key discovering of the Citywire Alpha Female 2021 report, now in its sixth year. The report tracks the progress that asset administration companies are making in bringing extra ladies into portfolio manager roles.

Fund teams should be struggling to maneuver the dial on the headline numbers, however the 12-month enhance within the general proportion is the most important but and Citywire information suggests asset managers consider variety works. The variety of blended groups has virtually doubled for the reason that first Alpha Female Report in 2016.

Five years in the past, simply 6.7% of the Citywire fund manager database was made up of blended groups. That quantity reached 11.8% in 2021.

The native image

In South Africa, the rate of change is much less encouraging. In 2019, 10.6% of the native fund managers in Citywire’s database had been ladies. That rose marginally to 10.8% final year, earlier than dropping again to 10.7% in 2021.

The proportion of belongings below administration run by single girl managers or women-only groups has additionally fallen. It was 4.6% in 2019, 4.1% in 2020 and three.9% this year.

It can also be notable that not a single massive South African asset manager has even 25% female representation at fund manager level. Absa Fund Managers leads this group with 24% of its named fund managers being ladies.

At Ninety One, 21% of fund managers are ladies, whereas Allan Gray exhibits 17% representation and Coronation 11%.

The solely native asset manager with greater than 5 named fund managers to have achieved gender parity is Truffle Asset Management. In its group of six, three are ladies: Nicole Agar, Sophié-Marié van Garderen and Palvi Kala.

Significantly, Agar and Van Garderen are the one South Africans to make Citywire’s record of high female managers. The pair had been AAA-rated at the time the analysis was compiled.

Diversity works

Responding to the worldwide numbers, Dr Nisha Long, head of ESG and cross-border funding analysis at Citywire, mentioned: ‘It is encouraging to see the percentage is heading in the right direction, but it’s changing into clear to me that I could properly not see gender parity in my lifetime if the rate of change doesn’t enhance.’

There is nonetheless a rising acceptance that numerous funding groups ship higher outcomes, and the report exhibits that blended groups have higher risk-adjusted returns and decrease drawdowns. And the regular decline in single-manager funds, as companies flip their backs on star tradition, signifies that simply over half of funds at the moment are run by a single manager.

Some fund teams have made important progress on gender – 25% of portfolio managers at the main massive companies are ladies – however turnover amongst ladies fund managers remains to be considerably greater than for males, and CEOs recognise this as a key challenge in addressing the gender steadiness.

‘Getting more women into portfolio management jobs is one thing; keeping them there is another,’ mentioned Dr Long.

‘There are many initiatives encouraging more women to take senior positions, but as we’ve highlighted in earlier years, all these insurance policies imply nothing if female managers will not be retained.’


One space the place there has been important optimistic change is within the quantity of money run by main female fund managers.

As not too long ago as 2018, the common belongings run by a Citywire AAA-rated manager – the best-performing group by way of risk-adjusted efficiency – was $1.3 billion for a girl and $2.2 billion for a person. In 2021, these numbers are $3.5 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively, virtually neck and neck.

Among teams with greater than 20 however fewer than 50 managers, Spain’s CaixaBank Asset Management is the one one nudging the 50% mark. Of the agency’s complete 31 portfolio managers tracked by Citywire, 16 are male and 15 are female, bringing the agency nearer to gender parity than any of its friends – the following greatest in any of the highest three tiers is 35%.

Citywire’s full Alpha Female 2021 report, which reveals the high asset administration teams by proportion of female managers and incorporates unique information on blended groups’ efficiency, manager retention and turnover, and in depth evaluation of the analysis, might be discovered here.

Angus Foote is director of Citywire Global and Patrick Cairns is South Africa Editor at Citywire, which supplies insights and data for skilled buyers globally.

This article was first revealed on Citywire South Africa here, and republished with permission.

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