Why We Need Girls Who Invest
When our founder, Seema Hingorani, published an op-ed in Bloomberg titled "'Girls Who Invest’ Would Change Wall Street” she did not expect the overwhelming response that she received.
The groundswell of support from men and women in the investment and academic communities globally was a wakeup call signaling that the dearth of female investment talent in the asset management industry had become a critical issue. This reality will not change without a proactive solution to recruit women into the investment business. Girls Who Invest offers asset management firms a real and tangible way to make the inclusion of women on their investment teams a top priority. In doing so, together we can transform the industry.
GENDER DIVERSITY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS
There is broad agreement in the industry that gender diversity is good for business. This thinking has been backed up by significant research conducted by McKinsey and others that show that diversity of thought in business leads to more informed and balanced decision making.
Research conducted by Catalyst and The CS Research Institute has revealed correlations between higher return on sales, equity and invested capital and gender diversity at the executive management level and the board of directors level at US corporations.
When it comes to investing, a number of studies have revealed that men and women invest differently. Gender differences in investment approach, perspective and experience can enhance long-term investing success.
Increased gender diversity leads to more informed and balanced decision making which will help bolster the future success of the asset management industry, institutional and individual investors, and the economic advancement of women.
Globally, large public pension funds are responding to this research by putting pressure on companies and on investment managers to increase gender diversity at the board level and on investment teams. Providing transparency around the selection process is key. Accessing all pools of investment talent is just common sense.
THE NUMBER OF FEMALE INVESTORS IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW
The number of women investment managers in the United States currently is startlingly low. And the statistics are getting worse. Research by Morningstar indicated that the number of female investment managers in the $15 trillion US mutual fund marketplace has fallen every year for the past six years, from 10% in 2009 to less than 7% today. According to the recent aiCIO magazine article “The Missing Women of Asset Management”, in alternative asset classes, women represent 6% in private equity, 4% in real estate and 3% in hedge funds.
The pipeline of female candidates for investment jobs is small
While evidence supports the need for gender diversity, younger women are less aware that investment management can be an interesting, valuable and lucrative career. They need to be convinced that they can be successful and happy in what is today a male-dominated industry.
A lack of critical mass of women in senior investment roles leads young women to wonder if honest dialog about workplace issues facing women is absent from the industry culture.
Negative industry perception and mistrust grew dramatically following the 2008 global financial crisis. This poor image is still prevalent today casting a cloud over the entire industry. We want women to take their place in helping to rebuild trust in the global economy.
Now is the time to act.