Male portfolio managers outnumber women 20 to 1. This might suggest gender bias on the part of hedge funds. However, it might also suggest that women aren’t seeking this line of work. How can the facts be known?

For example, 34 percent of doctors in the United States are female, about one in three. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of men in the nursing profession stands at 9 percent. Is anyone suggesting that the nursing profession has a gender bias?

How about, dietitians, nutritionists, teacher’s assistants, and occupational therapists—only around 10 percent of these positions are held by men. Is this gender bias? Male conductors and yardmasters outnumber women 20 to 1. Where is the outcry? Isn’t the gender bias equally evident in this profession?

Is It Possible?

Let’s go way out on a limb here and consider the possibility that many women may not aspire to a position in the hedge fund industry. Of course, such a headline will not attract readers. It is much easier to malign an entire industry and gain clicks than it is to venture out onto a politically incorrect limb. However, for a variety of reasons, many men have no desire to work in the hedge fund industry either. That may say something about the hedge fund industry but, it certainly doesn’t say that it is prejudiced against women.

The Truth Is

Hedge funds would very much like to see more women entering the profession. In part, because of the bad rap the industry is confronting, but mostly because hedge fund managers are intelligent, and understand that excluding one-half the population diminishes their ability to find great talent.

The hedge fund industry is all about results and if women make those results happen, they will be welcomed with open arms. The industry is a meritocracy, not an old boys club. Headlines that imply gender prejudice in the hedge fund industry become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If women are led to believe that pursuing a career in hedge funds will result in a constant battle between the sexes, then fewer women will choose this pursuit. In short, those in the media making these assertions are creating unwarranted headwinds for women.

What About Hedge Fund Jobs?

If you are a woman, this is the best of times to pursue a hedge fund career, in part, because hedge funds are anxious to shed the gender bias label, but largely because there is a shortage of talent in the industry.

Hedge funds are finding high levels of competition with tech firms for talent, particularly for quant and data scientists. This talent, male and female, has their pick of places to work. This talent, regardless of gender, is seeking a modern and diverse work environment. Hedge funds must make a greater effort to accommodate them or they will bring their considerable talents to other industries.

Women harboring an interest for a career in the hedge fund industry will find no better time than now to throw their collective hats into the ring.

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Activist hedge funds are hardly a new phenomenon, and Bill Ackman of Pershing Square is certainly not a novice in the game. While activist funds have been on the scene for decades, the motives that lay behind the activism have changed dramatically.

Earlier versions of activism were analogous to private equity plays, in which the fund’s stake was typically little more than holding a promising stock for a long-term gain. For the reader who is unfamiliar with the motives of today’s activist hedge fund, in general, or Bill Ackman in particular, please take a moment to review this Hedge Fund Marketing Association article for further insights.

Today’s Activism

Activism in the 21st century has taken a different tack and Ackman’s game plan for ADT is likely not to be one for the long-term. Automated Data Processing (ADP) is, by all accounts, a quality enterprise. Founded in 1949 by Henry Taub and launched as Automatic Payrolls, Inc., the company grew to achieve almost $12 billion in annual revenue in 2016.

On word of Ackman’s involvement, ADP’s stock rose 2.9 percent. One can readily calculate the monetary gain on Pershing Square’s eight percent stake. It is in the millions of dollars, practically an overnight windfall.

Ackman’s Goal

Although current ADP CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, has increased share value over his tenure, beat earnings estimates in the last three quarters, and grown gross revenue over the past three years or more, Bill Ackman feels the company can do better.

His stated intentions are to seat at least three board members, accelerate the firm’s growth, improve the quality of its software, enhance customer service, slash operating costs and increase the company’s efficiency overall, thereby increasing the company’s value to shareholders and customers.

These are lofty goals, and there are impediments. First, and foremost, Carlos Rodriguez doesn’t plan to go quietly into that good night. The board has already rebuffed Ackman’s request to extend its August 10 deadline for board nominations, which could force Ackman to sit on his plans for almost a year or, alternatively, gain the support of one-third of ADP’s shareholders in order to call for a special shareholder meeting.

Given the excellent record of accomplishment that Rodriguez has achieved in his 6-year tenure, the prospect of securing the votes of one-third of ADP’s shareholders seems a daunting task.

What About Hedge Fund Jobs?

While the relationship between hedge fund activism and hedge fund jobs is not necessarily a straight line, one can certainly understand how the in-house talent required by an activist firm may be more diverse than may those required in other fund strategies.

As the 2017 Hedge Fund Compensation Report demonstrates, people gain entry into the hedge fund industry from diverse backgrounds and activist funds are one reason that this is the case.

As for Bill Ackman, this isn’t his first rodeo and, more to the point, if he succeeds in ousting Carlos Rodriguez, it won’t be the first notch in his gun. Ackman has engineered the demise of CEOs at Air Products and Canadian Pacific Railway.

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Will the Bloom Return to the Hedge Fund Rose?

July 24, 2017

In the wake of countless glowing articles touting hedge fund gains through the first half of 2017 as well as new industry records for assets under management, hedge fund managers can’t help but be pleased—and who can blame them? Here Are the Facts Hedge fund gains have been in positive territory for the past eight […]

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What Career Paths Lead to a Job in the Hedge Fund Industry?

July 10, 2017

Contrary to popular opinion, earning an MBA will not necessarily earn you a spot in the hedge fund industry. According to the 2017 Hedge Fund Compensation Report, just 4 percent of those surveyed were hired by a hedge fund as students graduating with an MBA. This is not to minimize the value of an MBA in […]

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What Will Be the Upshot of MiFID II on Hedge Fund Jobs?

June 26, 2017

Just as the regulatory mists were beginning to dissipate under President Trump’s Sharpie and the House’s legislative action, a new fog is rolling across the financial sector—MiFID II. Although driven by European regulators, it cannot be ignored by any financial organization that engages the European markets, and this includes the hedge fund industry. What Is […]

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What Does an Analyst Do and What Do They Earn?

June 11, 2017

Although there are more than a few avenues leading to a job in the hedge fund industry, it can be argued that an analyst’s position is a typical entry-level position. Make no mistake; although the term entry-level often connotes the absence of a need for skills, education, prior experience or other attributes, this is not […]

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Can Hedge Funds Help Pension Funds Meet the $400 Trillion Challenge?

May 29, 2017

A child born in 2007 can look forward to a lifespan in excess of 100 years. Although this is marvelous news for those born in this millennia, it only adds to the woes of pension fund managers struggling with monumental shortfalls, estimated to be in the range of $400 trillion worldwide. The U. S. share […]

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