Three of the best female fund managers

Juliet Schooling Latter 07/03/2022

8 March is International Women’s Day – a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD had its first gathering in 1911 and was supported by over a million people. More than a century later, the theme in 2022 is #BreakTheBias.

Gender bias in fund management

Unfortunately, there are still many biases in the world today – biases that are illustrated only too well in our own investment industry.

Because believe it or not, there are actually more fund managers named Dave in the UK than there are female managers!

Back in 1974, the year I was born, David was by far the most popular name – it was given to one in every 20 new born boys. And the name kept its number one spot until 1992. So perhaps it’s a slightly biased stat itself, but it does still illustrate the point that women are vastly under-represented in fund management.

And sadly, instead of getting better, the numbers are falling. According to figures run by Morningstar in October 2021, the percentage of female UK fund managers has fallen over the past 20 years from 14% in the year 2000 to just 11.2% today. In fact, there was a steady decline until 2018 when it reached just 9.8%, before rising again over the past few years.

Twice as many Elite Rated female managers

While the industry average may be low, the number of Elite Rated female managers on FundCalibre is far higher at 21%*.

Of the 196 fund and trusts rated by FundCalibre, 41 either have a lead or named co-manager that is female*.

To mark International Women’s Day in 2022, we talked to four of these female managers and a female product specialist about why this gender gap still exists and what can be done to attract more women to a career in fund management.

Performance is gender neutral

The irony of course is that fund management is one of the few sectors that is completely transparent and unbiased when it comes to measuring employee achievements – the performance of a fund reveals all.

Here are three of our best performing Elite Rated funds run by women. Each fund has returned either first or second quartile performance in their respective sectors over the past 1, 3, 5 and 10 years**.

Schroder Income Growth

Sue Noffke has managed this UK equity income trust since July 2011. Her aim is to provide real growth of income in excess of the rate of inflation and to achieve this she invests mainly in the shares of UK larger and medium sized companies. The trust has raised its dividend each year for the past 25 years, making it a great option for income seekers.

JPM Asia Growth

Hong Kong based Joanna Kwok co-manages this concentrated, high-conviction fund with Mark Davids. The fund invests in the shares of up to 60 companies of any size, with the managers primarily focusing on quality, growing businesses to generate superior capital gains than their peers and the wider market.

Jupiter Merlin Growth Portfolio

Amanda Sillars is part of a six-strong team that manages this multi-manager fund. The long-term track record is a vindication of the team’s process and their success in asset allocation and fund selection. The team shares our bias towards managers who are resilient in tough times, and it is willing to back underlying managers with conviction.

*As at 3 March 2022
**Source: FE fundinfo, total returns in sterling to 2 March 2022

This article is provided for information only. The views of the author and any people quoted are their own and do not constitute financial advice. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any fund or trust, or to adopt a particular investment strategy. However, the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions.Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. Market and exchange-rate movements may cause the value of investments to go down as well as up. Yields will fluctuate and so income from investments is variable and not guaranteed. You may not get back the amount originally invested. Tax treatment depends of your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. If you are unsure about the suitability of any investment you should seek professional advice.Whilst FundCalibre provides product information, guidance and fund research we cannot know which of these products or funds, if any, are suitable for your particular circumstances and must leave that judgement to you. Before you make any investment decision, make sure you’re comfortable and fully understand the risks. Further information can be found on Elite Rated funds by simply clicking on the name highlighted in the article.