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Outsiders and Outperformers: Women in Fund Management

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The gender gap is a wide one in the world of investment management. Women manage only 3% of the assets in the $1.9 trillion dollar hedge fund industry, and only 10% of mutual fund managers are women (NCRW 2009). While the number of female CFA® charterholders has risen in absolute numbers from 5,719 in 2000 to 15,992 in 2009, the percentage of charterholders who are women has hardly budged—from 18% to 19%—over that period, according to the CFA Institute.

Yet hard statistical evidence exists, albeit based on what are for obvious reasons limited sample sets and relatively short time horizons, to suggest that the small universe of women managing assets are dramatically outperforming their benchmarks, most notably in down markets. Women represent less than 10 percent of the managers of the AsiaHedge Composite index—but they weighed in with a median total return of 153.26% between January 2000 and December 2007 versus 88.82% for the index as a whole, according to a January 2008 study conducted by AsiaHedge. And Chicago-based HFR (Hedge Fund Research) reported that hedge funds owned by women averaged an annual return of 9.06% between January 2000 and May 2009, versus 5.82% for HFR’s composite hedge fund index. What is more, when the market plunged in the second half of 2008, these women-managed hedge funds dropped by only 9.61% versus 19.03% for the weighted composite index, according to HFR.

Women in Fund Management, a report published in June 2009 by the NCRW (National Council for Research on Women), concludes, based on both anecdotal evidence and a survey of academic research, that women fund managers take a more long-term, measured approach to risk, are more detail-oriented researchers, and are less likely to succumb to groupthink than the traditional male manager. “When you look at the narrowness of the demographic that got us into the current financial crisis and is charged with getting us out of it,” says Linda Basch, NCRW president, “it becomes clear how much we need the talents that women leaders can bring to the table.”

Do women fund managers agree with these conclusions? Would the investment markets be in some way transformed if, reflecting the broad demographics, the majority of fund managers were women? We talked to a wide range of female fund managers for their views—from young hedge fund managers setting out to establish track records to more seasoned mutual fund professionals. Not surprisingly, all agreed that purely from the standpoint of fairness more women should be represented in their ranks. But they expressed surprisingly divergent and highly nuanced opinions about the extent to which gender informs their investment styles. While considering these questions, they talked about their struggles in achieving success in a male-dominated industry and explored broader questions about whether women can or should play a central role in market reform.

Gender Differences in Approaches to Risk

The NCRW’s Women in Fund Management report set out to investigate some of the academic studies that might explain the absence of women in the headlines chronicling the spectacular market blowups of the most recent financial meltdown. One highlighted research paper, “Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investments,” found that women are less likely to indulge in excessive stock turnover than men (Barber and Odean 2001). The researchers analyzed data from more than 35,000 households that held accounts with an unnamed discount brokerage firm between February 1991 and January 1997. The accounts were divided into those opened by men and those opened by women, and the trading activity and performance of each group was evaluated. The results showed that men traded 45% more than women and that overtrading reduced men’s returns by 2.65 percentage points a year versus 1.72 percentage points for women. Noteworthy was the evidence that single men traded 67% more than single women. Consequently, single men’s returns were reduced 1.44 percentage points more per year than the returns of single women. The researchers linked men’s overtrading to overconfidence, defined as a belief that the precision of one’s knowledge about the value of a security is greater than it actually is. Another study cited by the NCRW report, conducted by the Center for Financial Research at the University of Cologne, found that women equity mutual fund managers tended to have more stable returns and were generally more risk averse (Niessen and Ruenzi 2005).

A biobehavioral study by Taylor et al (2000) found that women’s reactions to stress are better characterized by “tend and befriend” than “fight or flight.” For example, in stressful situations women tend to engage in nurturing activities and rely on supportive relationships rather than engage in aggressive, impulsive behaviors. The researchers linked this response in part to women’s traditional role as nurturer and skills at social networking. They also found evidence that female reproductive hormones and the hormone oxytocin played a role in women’s ability to handle stress in nonaggressive ways.

In another illuminating study by D’Acremont and Van der Linden (2006), 124 middle school boys and girls were instructed to complete two tasks that are commonly used to gauge assessment and decision-making skills: the Iowa gambling task and the Rogers betting task. While both sexes took greater risks in the betting task when the chance of winning was greater, the boys generally made riskier bets than the girls. Additionally, the girls earned more money than the boys by learning to avoid the riskier decks. These results, according to the researchers, suggest “boys are less sensitive to future consequences than girls” (D’Acremont and Van der Linden 2006).

Women Fund Managers Respond

How did the women fund managers polled for this article respond to these research results, some of which actually reinforce gender stereotypes that professional women have been fighting for decades to overturn? Janet Mangano, a former librarian with three decades of experience in investment management and research, most recently at PNC Wealth Management, is one woman who frankly acknowledges gender differences and views women’s skills as complementary to men’s. “What I have experienced with men in my thirty years in the business is they don’t want to be bothered with the small stuff,” she says. As one dismissive male colleague once commented to her: “Don’t tell me how the clock works. I just want to know the time.” Still, she maintains, “Men rely so much on us women analysts and investment managers to do our full research and find signs of a wobbly investment case they may have overlooked.”

But Lisa Keating, who has degrees in both computer and electrical engineering and is completing her third year managing a small-cap strategy at Deutsche Bank Asset Management, maintains that a manager’s proclivity to dig into “detail” may have a lot more to do with the mandate of the fund he or she is managing than his or her gender: “I see a lot of men who are detail-oriented,” she says. At the same time, she notes, a woman may be required to take a top-down macro approach when managing a large-cap fund.

Are women fund managers more likely to focus on the long term? Loren Busby, who has a twenty-year track record in venture capital and private equity, and is a partner with a health care–focused venture capital fund, NGN Capital, says that her experience generally bears this out: “I find women tend to look further down the road at the impact of the decision or the action, maybe one, two, three steps beyond, than what some male colleagues do,” she says. However, Keating notes, younger fund managers regardless of gender need to establish a track record and are understandably more concerned with short-term results: “I think women are more conservative and longer-term traders in general, but I really think it depends in particular instances on how your performance will be judged,” she says. “I am working on my three- to five-year track record, so short-term performance is more important. A more seasoned portfolio manager is looking five or ten years out.” Keating also points out that managers, regardless of gender, are ultimately professionally bound to adhere to their funds’ stated objectives and strategies. “Our quant process may make us more short-term oriented than other small-cap funds,” says Keating. “We have a six-month time horizon so if we follow that mandate completely, which we don’t always, we would be turning over two hundred percent a year.”

Eileen Segall, 31, who earned a bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the owner of Tildenrow Advisors, a value-oriented, mostly long hedge fund which she launched solo three years ago, declines to ascribe what she characterizes as her “patient and detail-oriented” approach to her gender. “I have been inspired by Benjamin Graham, Charlie Munger, and Warren Buffet. They are the fathers of value,” she says. A young female portfolio manager with an Ivy League MBA who comanages an independent hedge fund and who spoke off the record says that she sees no connection whatever between her gender and her investment style and philosophy. “I know a lot of men who, like me, invest a lot of time in researching investment opportunities and ideas and take a long-term holding period approach. And like me they don’t jump at the gun at every investment opportunity,” she says.

Cynthia Harrington, a former large-cap value fund manager who now uses her knowledge of behavioral finance theory to coach professional investors on their biases, says she has observed that among her clients women do tend to handle stress differently than men. She corroborates the Taylor et al research that the fight-or-flight response seems to apply more to men than to women. She has observed that men often “go into a state of denial” in times of crisis. “Starting in about mid-2007, I began seeing men sticking their heads in the sand saying, ’Let’s not do anything, and this will go away,’” she reports, “while the women I was working with were more soberly assessing the situation and taking action.”

While both the conventional wisdom and academic research may suggest that women are more risk averse than men, Mangano says the reality is more complicated: women may in certain circumstances appear to be willing to assume substantial risk, but in reality their decision to do so is based on a solid research foundation. “I have seen women managers in certain specialty sectors like health care who might be perceived to be taking more risk, but it is because they know their subject area cold,” she reports. “In those cases I have seen them move almost preemptively to take action.”

Women’s generally more cautious approach to risk taking may stem from their sense that they are more vulnerable to attack. Kelly Pan, owner and manager of Pantheon Partners, a hedge fund founded in 1998 that invests in public technology companies, notes that “women are much more conscious of proactive risk management on both a personal and professional basis.” “They know that generally speaking women have to be better than average to survive in the industry,” she says. “As a result, women seem better able to put aside their own egos, realistically assess a situation and perhaps change their minds when presented with new information.”

Women also do not seem to be drawn to risk taking for the adrenaline highs to the same degree as men, says Cheryl Smith, 53, president and senior portfolio manager of Trillium Asset Management. “I for one don’t get a charge out of the idea that I am going to go out there, risk it all, and be number one. That is not where I get the juice from,” she reports. “I am more motivated by an approach that is, ’Let’s bring in all of the different factors and look at this investment in a considered way.’”

Why So Few Women Stay the Course in Fund Management

The low numbers of women who are drawn to fund management and the difficulty women have networking in a male-dominated industry are two of the more obvious reasons why so few women reach the upper ranks in this field. But most of the women interviewed for this article agreed that the single-minded drive and willingness to make personal sacrifices required to achieve success on Wall Street also explains the scarcity of women fund managers. Says Basch: “I have spoken to highly successful women in the industry who finally got fed up and left because the environment was so uncomfortable, even though they loved what they did.”

Mangano notes that the older female trailblazers she got to know in New York when she started out in fund management in the 1970s were invariably single women. “They could almost commit themselves to a career in investment like a nun to her vocation,” she says. Mangano, who went on to marry and raise a family, acknowledges, “It really is a major lifestyle sacrifice to be involved in the investment world intensely. If it doesn’t take a lot of hours, it takes a lot in terms of your determination and mindset. I identified myself as an investment person more than as a woman or a mother. It was not just my profession, it was my personal identity.”

Busby says that being single without children has made it easier for her to focus the time and attention she needs to succeed in what can sometimes be a pressure cooker work environment. “I can see why certain New York financial institutions would not suit the lifestyle of every woman,” she says. “Often women who leave the industry to have their family and then want to return find the coming back is much harder.”

Cathy Tse, a senior managing director of equity at Sterling Stamos and former institutional equity trader at Merrill Lynch, has interviewed hundreds of hedge and mutual fund managers all over the world for her firm’s investment portfolios. Although she encounters few female hedge fund managers in general, she notes, “I have met more female hedge fund managers in Asia, and they think they can continue their careers seamlessly while they raise young children because childcare is very affordable in the region.”

Stateside, some of the younger hedge fund managers interviewed for this article like the anonymous Ivy League MBA say they expect to be able to maintain a work-life balance as their careers unfold by following the deliberative investment style that comes naturally to them. “Investing the way I do, not having to respond to every tick of the market, gives me more leisure time and allows me to step away if I need to,” she maintains. “I am investing with a two- to three-year time horizon, and that works for my personal life.”

Segall says she naturally gravitated toward an investment style in sync with her inclination “as a long-term thinker,” which allows her to avoid excessive time spent worrying about the short-term news cycle or stock market volatility. She rarely has to get up in the middle of the night to execute a trade, for example. She also notes that having chosen to go independent rather than work for a large investment firm has given her more control over her time. “I can see doing this going forward and still being able to achieve a balance in my life,” she says.

But as many seasoned women fund managers with families attest, they rarely have the same luxuries of time to decompress as their male counterparts. Smith notes, for example, that unlike the male portfolio managers in her firm, none of the women have stay-at-home partners. Throughout her career, on Monday mornings, “when we discussed what we did over the weekend, I was talking about laundry and housecleaning, and the men were talking about their golf game,” she reports.

In the end says Tse, who holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School, staying the course in investment management for a woman who is raising a family requires particularly strong resolve. “It is a tough conversation to have with yourself,” she admits. “At times, there are difficult choices one has to make, there is a lot of balancing of life activities, and it helps to have a strong support network of family and friends.” Tse’s child is a toddler, and she confesses that she does not hop on a plane to London to do business without experiencing any pangs. But, she believes, “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.”

Women in Sustainable Investing

The realm of SRI (sustainable and responsible investment) is one sector of the industry in which women tend to be fairly well represented. For example, of the 15 board members of SIF (the Social Investment Forum), the professional organization of SRI practitioners, 11 are women. Nonetheless, in the early days of her career, says Smith, who is the current chair of SIF, being a woman and a socially responsible fund manager represented a double whammy: “When I went into investment meetings and started asking about environmental outcomes or corporate governance or employee relations,” she recalls, “I was looked at askance for two reason: one, I was a woman, and, two, I was not ’going with the program.’”

Mary Jane McQuillen, director and portfolio manager of the Socially Aware Investment Program at ClearBridge Advisors and an SIF board member, is quick to distance herself from any stereotypical notions that women are attracted to sustainable investing because of their nurturing nature: “I almost want to turn the tables and say, relative to the mainstream, why aren’t more men attracted to sustainable investing?” She says she was drawn to the discipline because it gave her the opportunity to apply both her qualitative and quantitative skills in a deeper way than possible in traditional mainstream investing. She also maintains it has allowed her to have a more meaningful relationship with her clients and the companies in which she invests. As more and more evidence mounts that portfolios with environmental, social, and governance screens outperform the market, McQuillen wonders whether it might be worth investigating a possible correlation between that outperformance and the high ratio of female to male managers in the sector.

Interestingly, some of the women interviewed for this article who did not identify themselves as sustainable investment managers shared many of the strategies and mindsets associated with the discipline. Segall, for example, notes that she spends a lot of time looking at what might be defined as nonfinancial risk factors when assessing a potential investment target: “I try to invest in companies that manage their capital in prudent and thoughtful ways,” she says. “I try to do as thorough research as I can on any type of environmental risk. I think of every possible risk to my investment because if management does something unethical, it is not just an ethical dilemma for me but a bad investment outcome.”

Women as Whistle Blowers

The mostly male delegates who attended the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, this past year reportedly posed an intriguing question: If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters, they asked, would some of the worst disasters of the most recent financial meltdown been avoided? The experience of two high-profile women financial-market regulators also raises the question. One might ask, had more women held positions of regulatory power in 1997, when chair of the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) Brooksley Born went before Congress to call for derivatives regulation, would the male triumvirate of Alan Greenspan (chair of the of Federal Reserve Board), Arthur Levitt (chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission), and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin have been as successful in drowning out her admonitory voice? “Born is now getting the attention she deserved,” says Basch. “But at the time she was totally discounted. She had no support to build up her argument.”

Sheila Bair was also ignored as a commissioner of the CFTC in the early 1990s when she called for closer scrutiny of trading in commodities futures contracts, the instruments that were soon thereafter implicated in the Enron scandal. In 2006, as chairwoman of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Bair has also expressed her concerns about credit market speculative excesses. Her suggestions that banks’ be pressured to renegotiate nonperforming mortgages to ward off what she predicted would be a wave of bank failures were also largely ignored by her fellow male regulators. “Maybe if they had listened to Bair instead of opening up the $700 million checkbook we would have mitigated some of our current problems,” says Harrington. Like Born, Bair has reportedly been called out by her male peers, most notably Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for failing to be a team player.

It may be difficult to generalize from these two examples, but could it be that Born and Bair found it easy to opt out of the groupthink mentality that afflicted many of their male peers not because of their gender but because of their very “outsider” status? “I think women in the financial world are less afraid of being outcasts, because in a sense they are already,” says Segall. “They are not afraid of being kicked out of the boy’s club, because they are not in it to begin with.” But Basch argues that these examples of the lone and often ineffectual voices of women in the regulatory landscape illustrate how critical the need is for more women decision makers: “Studies have shown that when more than thirty percent of a corporate board are made up of women they tend to ask tougher questions and demand more detailed analysis. When you have only one to three percent of diverse voices in a decision-making group, those voices tend to be ignored.” Smith agrees: “If you are the only woman in the field, or the only woman in every room you go into, you may speak out but your ability to be heard is minimal.”

What If Women Ruled Fund Management?

So, putting aside the obvious gender-equality considerations, would the world be better off if women represented a majority of global assets managers? Surprisingly, not all women fund managers think so. Busby takes the view that having more women in the industry could foster a more team-oriented culture that is less driven by individual egos. But she believes the push for short-term results comes from the external investor community and having more women managing assets will not change that. “The short-term nature of Wall Street is not a gender issue it is an investor issue,” she says. “You are not going to change that until you change investor expectations.”

The anonymous hedge fund manager doubts that having more women fund managers would alter the character of the market any more than having more women in medicine, law, or publishing has transformed those professions. While some may declaim the groupthink that leads to bubbles and busts, this woman says it may actually be an essential market ingredient. “There are participants that benefit from these groupthink inefficiencies we are all susceptible to,” she says. “This is part of what makes the system work.” What is more, she maintains that it is neither desirable nor possible to eliminate short-termism from the market. “The notion of ’eliminating’ something like this is beyond ludicrous,” she says. “It’s like telling a surgeon that they cannot perform a tracheotomy—only heart surgeries. Each mandate—short-termism and long-termism—solves a different valuation requirement. If we take away these short-term participants we will have less efficient markets,” she maintains.

Smith, who holds a PhD in economics, disagrees: “I would say, as an economist and a student of financial market theory, to get a market to function you need a wide variety of players forming judgments on a wide variety of information. And you need a difference of opinion to have buyers and sellers. But that the motivation of a certain number of them has to be jazzed up and must be short-term is not a precondition for an efficient market.”

Pan—who, in addition to her position with Pantheon Partners, is also a partner at Gagnon Securities—believes that as more women move into fund management there will perhaps be less marketing hype around outlier performance: “Right now the whole industry rewards the outliers, and that is why they get clients while they are hot and then crash afterwards.” Women managers may not have produced the extreme upside returns of some of their male peers at the height of the tech bubble, she says. But they were also much less likely to have crashed when the bubble burst. “In my own fund, I am discovering that we hit the heights of all the indices in the good times, and in the bad times we lost much less,” she says. Pan’s fund, Pantheon Partners, gained 147% in the tech up-market of August 1998 through December 1999, while the NASDAQ gained 118.3%. During that same period, she reports, some of her male peers who loaded up on debt achieved 300% returns. However, while many of those highly leveraged funds were wiped out when the bubble burst in 2000, Pantheon lost only 20.1% in the tech downturn between January 2000 and December 2002. (The NASDAQ lost 66.9% over the same period.)

Like Pan, McQuillen believes there will be a consistent increase in sustainable, longer-term investing as more women rise up the ranks in fund management. But she maintains the change will happen slowly. “We are coming from a long-standing male-dominated industry, and cultures evolve slowly over time and with experience,” she notes. “The financial community lends itself to conformism, and its participants have been trained in a certain way, using a certain set of analytics and processes. It may seem initially unusual and risky to deviate from that.”

Leslie Christian, president, CEO, and CIO of Portland, Oregon–based Portfolio 21 Investments, says perhaps the most significant contribution women can make to the world of fund management is to question the status quo. “Is there something inherent in this world of fund management, is it so rarified that it really can’t change?” she asks. “I have argued the point with men who say, ’You have to have money trampling all over the world to have a successful economy.’ But do we really have to have hedge funds to have a successful economy? Do we really need Goldman in the picture? If there were more women asking those questions at higher levels, I think it would be valuable.”

Christian maintains that she is more comfortable framing a discussion as Wall Street versus a more rational approach to investing, rather than male versus female investment styles. “I understand women are underrepresented in the industry, but it feels awkward for me to be quite that black and white about gender differences,” she says. “The two men at our firm who are responsible for portfolio management are long-term, deliberate thinkers not big screaming macho traders. They don’t fit the Wall Street profile.” In Christian’s view the real issue is that the arrogant, insular mindset of Wall Street has come to define the market. She admits that during her days on Wall Street she also bought into the competitiveness and sometimes-mindless intensity. “Everything is so externalized when you are in that Wall Street environment. You don’t have to have an inner life,” she says. The “Street high” is so seductive, she notes because “without it, the truth is fund management can be a bit on the boring side.” But at the same time, seeking that high is what gets you into trouble, she says.

Segall says that the world of asset management needs more diversity in general, not just more women. “Right now there are too many incentives in the industry to be short-term oriented, to trade a lot, and to take on too much risk, and a lot of that has to do with the groupthink that comes with homogeneity,” she says. “Having more females is one way to change that, but racial minorities are underrepresented too. When people are part of one kind of group, come from the same socioeconomic backgrounds, go to the same colleges, they are less likely to express divergent opinions and go out on a limb and risk maybe being cast out of their social network. Too many people are too similar, too connected, and too insulated in this industry.”

Bringing More Women into Fund Management

Women fund managers are leading the charge to swell their ranks. One high-profile example is Renee Haugerud, chief investment officer of the commodity hedge fund Galtere International. She and her husband recently established the Renee Haugerud and John H. Murphy Global Finance Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. One of the center’s principal goals will be to train women traders.

“There is a groundswell of excitement among my female peers about helping women in finance get their talents recognized on Wall Street,” says Kathleen DeRose, who has managed multibillion dollar portfolios at Scudder Stevens and Bessemer Trust, and is now CIO and Managing Partner of Magenta Capital Management. Because she believes so strongly that women need more encouragement to pursue studies in quantitative disciplines (she has an undergraduate degree in American history from Princeton University and describes herself as a “left brain/right brain person” who tested out of her undergraduate math requirements because of her strong quantitative skills), DeRose set up the Kathleen Traynor Research Fund at Princeton’s Bendheim Center for Finance, which provides funds annually to the top performing female student in the undergraduate finance program. “It was a deliberate attempt on my part to support women in the quantitative professions,” she says.

Busby, 43, says that she is now seeing more opportunities for women who want to manage their own funds than at any other time in her life. She notes, for example, that CalPERS and the New York State Common Retirement Fund have both launched initiatives to hire more women fund managers. She notes that the investment world might also want to take a page from the major accounting firms like Deloitte & Touche and certain Wall Street law firms that have invested significant time and resources into mapping ways to retain their top female talent through their child-rearing years.

Noting that women own half the investment wealth in the country but that women-owned funds typically attract less capital than male-owned funds, Basch maintains that women need to begin asking questions about the gender makeup of the management teams to which they entrust their assets. “We also argue that pension funds and academic institutions with endowments of more than $25 million should be asking this diversity question as well,” she says. Her organization also advocates for more “boot camps” to interest young girls in the hard sciences and math, as a way to build out the pipeline for women in fund management.

Joe Keefe, CEO of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire–based sustainable investment managers Pax World, is one man who has taken affirmative steps to maintain a balance of male and female managers in his firm. “Three of our six senior portfolio managers are women and we have richer discussions, more perspectives, and in the end a deeper understanding of a lot of issues like risk mitigation because women’s voices are at the table,” he says. When it comes time to hire a new manager, “if the recruiter comes up with a list of five white male candidates we tell them to go back and bring us a new list,” he says. “It is just hogwash that you can’t find qualified women candidates in this field.”

DeRose notes that despite the many hurdles they face, women have one huge advantage in the field of fund management: at the end of the day, performance is judged by an objective quantitative standard. “If your bottom line results are good,” she says. “It is hard for anyone to hold you back.”

While Segall agrees, she also realizes that “some of us got to where we are as women because of something more ’soft’” —the power of the examples set by other women. She recalls being introduced to the world of finance when members of her MIT sorority returned to campus as newly minted investment bankers eager to recruit their “sisters.” She says she has also felt empowered by her membership in networking organizations like 100 Women in Hedge Funds. “Just being in the presence of other women who are doing this and are being successful at it is inspiring,” she says. “It makes a difference to feel I am not alone and to have evidence that if I become a mother one day that I, too, can juggle both worlds.”


National Council for Research on Women. 2009. Women in Fund Management: A Road Map for Achieving Critical Mass—and Why it Matters.

Barber, Brad. M., and Odean, Terrance. 2001. “Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 116, no. 1. 261–292.

Niessen, Alexandra, and Ruenzi, Stefan. 2005. “Sex Matters: Gender and Mutual Funds,” working paper, no. 06-01. University of Cologne. 

Taylor, Shelley E., Laura Cousino Klein, Brian P. Lewis, Tara L. Gruenewald, Regan A. R. Gurung, and John A. Updegraff. July 2000. “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight.” Psychological Review, vol. 107, no. 3. 411–429.

D’Acremont, Mathieu, and Martial Van der Linden. July 2006. “Gender Differences in Two Decision-Making Tasks in a Community Sample of Adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 30, no. 4. 352–358.

–Susan Arterian Chang is a financial writer based in White Plains, New York, and publisher of The Impact Investor website. She dedicates this story to the memory of her mother, Celeste Nienstedt Arterian, who gave up the job she loved as an investment counselor at Loomis, Sayles & Co. in 1949 to raise a family.

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I really enjoyed this article, but I'm not sure that women are inherently more risk averse. I do think that traditional gender roles have encouraged women to be more cautious and men more daring--but it seems like things are changing.

Check out the results of this survey:

I must say this is by far one of the best articles I have read. I really feel women asset managers have always been more risk averse, more importantly they do in fact seek long term returns. Unfortunately, the industry is more performanced based and that is in fact short-term returns equating to higher risks. Too bad, the industry doesn't realize this, especially the quick too fall hedge funds, they obviously didn't take a long term returns approach. Maybe if they were to be run by women asset managers they would have lasted longer.

All in all, after the collapse of the financial industry, it certainly doesn't hurt to give women asset managers a try. And I honestly believe we will see an increase of women partaking in the industry especially after the events of 08. Hi-Five* for a well written article.

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