Women portfolio managers beating male colleagues in 2022’s market drawdown

Investments managed by women during this year’s market route have fared better than assets handled by their male counterparts in the industry.

Active returns from large-cap equity portfolios led or co-led by women posted a median loss of 2.6% between January and September as financial markets were battered by macroeconomic headwinds, while male-led teams saw a larger loss of 5.9%. That’s according to new data from Investment Metrics, an investment performance analytics firm.

The firm’s analysis examined returns from 80 investment portfolios across 73 asset managers, including heavyweights like Morgan Stanley, Allianz, Invesco, and Schroeders, to name a few.

Women portfolio managers outpaced men’s performance in this year's down market.

Women portfolio managers outpaced men’s performance in this year’s down market. (Source: InvestMetrics)

“At least in the near term, it would seem that women-led teams do a better job at protecting assets in down markets,” wrote report author Scott Treacy, a research consultant at Investment Metrics.

The data also found that investment portfolios overseen by women outperformed those of men against their style indices during 2018’s market drop, when the MSCI All-County World index fell 8.9% over that calendar year. The index – a leading benchmark for global equity funds 00 was down 25.5% through September 2022.

Still, despite the outperformance, women-led portfolio management teams comprised just 14% of the broader global large-cap equity group evaluated, with only 13 of the 90 investment vehicles assessed led or co-led by a woman. And at the total strategy asset level, women manage a mere $90 billion of $698 billion in funds.

Women-led teams at firms Walter Scott & Partners, Ninety One, Pzena, Epoch Investment Partners, and Loomis Sayles handled the most assets, according to the report.

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The “Fearless Girl” sculpture is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during a snow storm in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Notable female portfolio managers listed in the report were Elisa Mazen, head of the global growth equity team at CearBridge, beating her respective index 80% of the time; Cassandra Hardman, chief investment officer at Hardman Johnston Global Advisors, whose track record shows an index beat 73% of the time; and Caroline Cai, co-chief investment officer at Pzena, and Sarah Ketterer, chief executive at Causeway Capital Management, who each saw index beats 64% of the time.

“Our analysis shows there is a strong case to build female-led teams – their recent performance in down markets has demonstrated their ability to navigate volatile capital markets,” Treacy wrote. “More women should be given more opportunities to lead portfolio management teams at asset management firms and more institutional investors should be directing assets towards women-led portfolios.”

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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