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Digital Subscriptions > The Hedge Fund Journal > Issue 141 – Jun | Jul 2019 > Variant Perspectives: Women in Value Investing

Variant Perspectives: Women in Value Investing

Championing female fund managers: #SizeMattersGrowAUFM

Women are running sub-scale businesses, and this is not due to performance,” said Barbara Ann Bernard, founder of global equity long/short Wincrest Capital, which has outperformed the average long short/equity fund, and generously sponsored the inaugural Variant Perspectives (VP) conference along with Sionna Investment Managers, Rittenhouse Rankings and Robotti Value Investors. Is the industry meritocratic if statistically speaking women raise fewer assets, and have lower longevity and survival prospects, than men with similar performance (as found in academic study, “The Performance of Female Hedge Fund Managers”, by Nicole Boyson and Rajesh Aggarwal, 2015)?

This new event aims to increase the percentage of assets managed by women and by women-owned firms. Just 1% of assets managed by the private sector asset management industry are managed by majority women-owned firms, according to one study. The social media hashtag for VP is #SizeMattersGrowAUFM.

The event was held in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday 2 May 2019, and was opened by Warren Buffet, who lamented that “the United States has spent more than half of its history not using the talents of half of its population”. When the Berkshire Hathaway AGM (which most VP delegates also attended) took place the following day, it was heartening to see nine-year old neophyte investors – both boys and girls – asking questions. Some of them came all the way from China. Buffet has met with groups of budding young female investors in the “Smart Women Securities” competition for university students. “A stock does not know who owns it, and nobody cared that I came from Nebraska and not New York,” he said.

Women and investment performance

While over 2,000 studies have looked at ESG investment policies and performance – and 63% found a positive correlation, according to a meta study (ESG and financial performance: aggregated evidence from more than 2000 empirical studies, by Friede, Busch and Bassen, 2015) – we know of only a few dozen that have examined another facet of ESG: the diversity of the fund managers themselves.

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