Number of women fund managers edges up, but still at just 8% of industry count: study
Mumbai: There was a small rise in the number of women fund managers in the Indian mutual fund industry—from 18 in the previous year to 24 in 2017—but they still constitute a mere 8% of the total fund managers in the country, a study by independent investment research provider Morningstar Inc.’s India unit showed.
However, women managers have generated solid returns within their peer groups. Of the total assets managed by women fund managers, 61% of the assets under management (AUM) outperformed the benchmark/peer group average over 1-year basis, 81% over 3-year basis and 86% over 5-year basis, indicating that over the long term, funds managed/overseen by women managers have delivered significant outperformance.
The women managers included in the study manage funds either as primary/secondary managers or as heads of equity/fixed income.
“Women have been named fund managers at a relatively higher rate in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Spain, and Israel. At least 20% of fund managers are women in these markets. But elsewhere, women are behind the global norm,” said Nehal Meshram, senior analyst—manager research at Morningstar Investment Adviser India Pvt. Ltd, without elaborating on the numbers.
“In larger financial centres, such as Brazil, India, Germany and the United States, the local rate of women-managed funds is below the global standard,” added Meshram.
While the number of women in fund management is up from last year, women managers still constitute only 8% of the industry in India and cumulatively manage assets worth Rs3.1 trillion, a figure that translates to about 15% of the total assets under management for open-ended funds, the study showed.
For women who have made their mark in the industry, the gender bias didn’t bother.
“There is a general perception that world of asset management is a high stress—pressure cooker kind of environment. Then there is the question that if you get into high stress environment, will you able to strike work-life balance,” said Lakshmi Iyer, head of fixed income at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co.
“Therefore, there is an entry level barrier, but having done that (the job) for so many years, it is not that it is impossible,” said Iyer, who has been with Kotak since 2000. “It is doable, you have to beat the apprehensions and break your own glass ceiling,” she added.
The total assets managed by women managers have recorded an increase in terms of absolute numbers to Rs3.1 trillion from Rs230 crore last year.
“While most of the fund houses have recognised the importance of diversity and have been hiring women fund managers, however, there is a need to set the tone at the top level so that we can get to parity with men in the Mutual Fund Industry at a higher pace,” Morningstar said in the report.