This edition marks the tenth edition of our 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds report and is published in association with EY for the ninth time. We thank EY for their continued support for this inspiring report.
We first published this report in 2009 and some readers ask if it gets harder to find new names. The answer to this question is no. We are expanding our network, but more importantly many firms – particularly in the US – are promoting more women into major roles.
Forty nine of the fifty women featuring in this year’s report are new to the report (we do allow a small number of repeat names in certain circumstances) and eleven firms are featuring for the first time. Of these eleven, eight are alternative asset managers namely Crestline, ExodusPoint Capital Management, Astra Asset Management, Artisan Partners, Metori China, RTW Investments, Stillwater Asset Management and Bienville Capital Management; two are law firms namely Mourant and Haynes Boone; and the eleventh firm is iConnections, the platform that connects investment managers and allocators. Five of the women featured from these new firms have previously worked at firms that have featured in earlier editions of this report.
The remaining firms namely AlbaCore, Balyasny, Bridgewater, Capital Fund Management, Citco, Citadel and its affiliates, Citadel Securities, D.E. Shaw, Indus Capital, MFA, Marshall Wace, Millennium Management, Mudrick Capital, Point72, Sculptor, Schulte Roth & Zabel, Sidley Austin, Simmons & Simmons, Taconic Capital Advisers, Tudor, Verition and Wellington Management have featured at least once before and some more frequently (if not necessarily featuring in every single report). These firms provide serial honorees because they boast a broad and deep bench of senior female professionals – who are also getting promoted.
Thirty-seven of this year’s fifty women work for hedge fund managers, one for a fund of hedge funds, ten for service providers, one for a trade association and one for a specialist networking platform.
The geographic split is, as usual, dominated by North America with thirty-five women based in the US and one in Canada; in addition, one is based in Cayman, six in the UK, one in France and six in Asia, covering Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
The report showcases a wide range of senior investment and non-investment job functions. Some fourteen of the fifty women in this report occupy senior investment roles, though it is worth noting that many of the firms featuring non-investment professionals in this year’s report, such as Indus Capital and Tudor, employ senior investment professionals who have featured in earlier editions of this report.
It is worth mentioning at this point that we publish a report called Tomorrow’s Titans in which we feature future star portfolio managers, particularly from smaller and younger firms. Whilst only one woman in this year’s 50 Women report, Lena Motz of Stillwater, founded her own firm, readers will find more female founders and fund managers in our Tomorrow’s Titans series.
Eight of this year’s fifty honorees work in senior legal and compliance roles, either as general counsel and/or chief compliance officer. Six work in law firms. Seven work in marketing and/or investor relations roles. Four work in finance or accounting roles and three in operations. Three manage broker or corporate relations or execution. Two work in human resources/human talent roles. There is one each covering roles in general management, communications and ESG, as well as a regulatory expert and industry advocate.
The portfolio managers featured in this year’s report are pursuing some distinctive and innovative strategies. Activism may be perceived as both male dominated and equity oriented, but in previous reports we have featured several female equity activists and here we have a female portfolio manager, Shikha Gupta of Astra Asset Management, who has led activist proposals in relation to structured credit. At least two of the women in this year’s report have some involvement in managing dedicated digital assets related strategies, namely Irene Tse of Wellington and Sarah Schroeder of One River. One of the Asian portfolio managers, Tiffany Hsiao of Artisan Partners, combines public and private equity in China, while another, Coleen Kang of Metori China, is applying trend following CTA techniques to Chinese futures.
We estimate that the ‘multi-strategy platforms’, including Balyasny, Citadel, Crestline, D.E. Shaw, Millennium Management, Point72 and Verition, represented in this report are collectively the largest employers of female portfolio managers, in roles including fundamental sector specialist equities, macro and quantitative investing. This is partly because the total number of portfolio managers working on these platforms is so sizeable. Additionally, strong performance, asset growth and dynamic strategy and team rebalancing leads them to regularly hire new talent, including some women who had set up their own shops.
Many of the firms in this year’s report run various women’s groups, networks and committees, as well as wider diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) groups. Outside their firms many women are involved in female advocacy and networking groups. 100 Women in Finance is probably the most well-known group.
Some women are also reaching out to the ‘next generation’, visiting schools and universities, and hiring interns, which can also sometimes be part of broader diversity drives focused on individuals from underprivileged backgrounds. The hope must be that this will help to steer more younger women towards investment-oriented careers and contribute towards redressing the gender imbalance.