Although women manage only a small slice of the hedge fund pie, they are enjoying increasing success in both performance and promotions, according to a new survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Between 2000 and 2009, women-owned firms delivered an average 9.06% annual returns, compared to a 5.82% average for all funds, according to data from Hedge Fund Research and reported in an article in The Guardian. Another study, by the U.S.-based National Council for Research on Women, shows that women are more likely to take a “holistic and risk-intelligent” approach to investing than men. And in the recent, turbulent years for markets, such a risk-averse approach can pay off.
Hedge funds may offer a more level playing field for women, as well. Compared with other financial institutions, hedge funds tend to have flatter organizational structures, with few layers and more opportunity to have a visible impact on the success of the firm. There are also more opportunities for flexible working hours, which enable women to better balance their work-family life without having to leave their jobs.
Nevertheless, women still manage just 3 percent of a $1.5 trillion global hedge fund industry. Which leaves plenty of room for women to play a greater role.