Just 2.4%. That was the disheartening conclusion the Portfolio Adviser team reached when researching how many UK funds had a named female manager ahead of International Women’s Day 2022. A year later, little has changed.
Progress is often slow, but data from fund research house RSMR suggests that it has been glacial when it comes to improving the gender balance in fund management, per the table below:
RSMR female fund manager breakdown
|February 2022||February 2023|
|Funds with RSMR ‘Active’ rating||350||341|
|Named male managers||89%||89%|
|Named female managers||11%||11%|
|Funds with RSMR ‘Responsible’ rating||47||60|
|Named male managers||88%||83%|
|Named female managers||12%||17%|
“Our research process is just the same, year on year,” a company spokesperson said. “To get a ‘Responsible’ rating a fund must go further. At RSMR, we consider ESG factors in all the funds we rate. We consider a large number of quant and qual factors before awarding a rating. When it comes to assessing the quality of fund managers, their expertise and experience are important factors for us. We typically rate 8-10% of the funds in the IA sector although we consider them all in our process.”
Ken Rayner, CEO of RSMR, added: “The data demonstrates some progress compared to a year ago but clearly more work is needed to create a better balance. Responsible investing sectors have seen more progress and investing in this way is now a major industry theme, which we are seeing through the increasing interest in our RSMR Responsible rated funds and MPS portfolios.
“Provided fund groups continue with broad-based recruitment and development policies and promote and provide experience to talented people, my view is that the RSMR rated fund manager lists will become steadily more diverse over time.
“Our fund research approach has no gender bias; we are only interested in quality, the needs of advice businesses and the outcomes for end investors. We consider a large number of factors before awarding a rating and when it comes to assessing the quality of fund managers, their expertise and experience are the overriding factors for us.”