Just 8% of India's asset managers are women

By Morningstar | Mar 05, 2020

When it comes to gender diversity, the global fund industry looks much like it did 20 years ago: At the end of 2000, 14% of fund managers were women. And at the end of 2019, 14% of fund managers were women.

That’s the latest finding from Morningstar’s quantitative research group.

Associate director Madison Sargis and associate analyst Amrutha Alladi recently updated some of the numbers underlying Sargis’ 2016 white paper, Fund Managers by Gender: The Global Landscape.

Harnessing Morningstar’s global database of funds registered in 56 countries, they determined the gender of more than 25,000 fund managers using information provided by fund companies when available and a proprietary algorithm that assigns a probability of a manager name being a woman, based on local census data.

Sargis and Alladi note that even as the overall number of fund managers has risen in the United States from 2000 through 2019, the number of women fund managers has remained relatively constant. That shows in their latest data.

There are geographic bright spots, mostly in smaller markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain, where more than 20% of fund managers are women. However, some of the largest financial centers remain below the global average, including the United Kingdom (13%) and the United States (11%).

In India, of the total 352 fund managers, just 28 are female. With a meagre 8% representation, women remain drastically underrepresented among the ranks of mutual fund managers. The total assets managed by women fund managers is approximately Rs 3.59 lakh crores, which is 13% of the total mutual fund assets. Though the total assets managed has gone up from Rs 3.41 lakh crores seen last year, in percentage terms this number has fallen from 15% last year to 13% of the overall industry AUM as January 31, 2020.

The gender gap is a chasm in the fund industry. The cause is likely a complicated combination of structural barriers and implicit biases. But it has nothing to do with ability, as Madison Sargis and Kathryn Wing demonstrated in a 2018 study showing that the gender of fund managers doesn’t affect investment performance.

In India, the role of a fund manager has long been considered the province of predominantly men staffers. However, few fund houses have recognised the importance of diversity and have been hiring women fund managers.

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