Citywire data has found that female fund managers are likely to receive greater representation in Asian markets or Asian investment sectors.
More women also manage to make it to the helm of funds focused on Asian markets than is the norm across other sectors
Elina Fung, who oversees $1.3 billion in Asia Pacific equity funds at HSBC GAM, is the best-performing female fund manager running more than $1 billion in the entire Citywire fund manager database. She ranks 55 out of 15,316 for her three-year risk-adjusted returns.
The HSBC GIF Asia ex Japan Equity Smaller Companies fund is currently ranked first in its 39-strong peer group in absolute terms to the end of June 2017. The strong performance of the specialist strategy saw it closed to all investors in April of this year.
In Singapore and Hong Kong, women account for just under one in five fund managers. One reason given is the educational and cultural changes in these markets over the past decade.
Commenting on the findings, Reshmi Khurana, managing director and head of South Asia at consultancy Kroll, said: 'I think Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are quite well developed in terms of having thriving financial markets, which are very meritocratic in their performance and valuation.
'Because the meritocratic environment, which are fairly regulated and well developed, it is a great environment for women to thrive. This is especially true in Asia where culture and gender biases are not very prevalent. So meritocracy is the number one reason for this improvement.'
They make up around one in five China, Greater China and Asian emerging markets equity managers globally, and over a third of managers in the, albeit smaller, Singapore equities sector.
Khurana added: 'Singapore’s educational system is very merit-based and it is very stringent. It has a high standard and it is demanding, so women also succeed. You have some of the best educational institutions there, MBA schools or finance schools, which creates pipelines for women who enter the workforce.
'I think you see how many women are entering these markets, which is a high percentage, means it is not as male dominated here in Singapore as elsewhere. Many women are also active in financial markets, including fund management.'
So it’s perhaps no surprise that of the 10 top performing female fund managers according to our ratings, running funds that are readily available to UK investors on the major platforms, seven are managing Asia-focused funds.
They include Citywire AAA-rated Jing Ning, who runs the biggest China fund available to UK investors, the Fidelity Funds – China Focus. Fifth of 37 funds over three years, she has delivered an 88.1% return over that period.
Fellow AAA-rated Asian equity managers Emily Dong, Joanna Kwok and Aisa Ogoshi run smaller funds, but their track records are no less impressive. Dong runs the BlackRock Asia Special Situations fund with Andrew Swan, and has returned 72.8% over three years, ranking ninth of the 168 funds in the sector over that period.
Kwok’s JPMorgan Asia fund, run with Citywire A-rated Mark Davids, which she took on in 2015, has delivered 38.6% over the last year placing the fund eight of 188 in the sector.
The stablemate JPMorgan Pacific Equity fund has meanwhile more than doubled investors’ money since Ogoshi became a manager five years ago. She runs the fund with Davids and Citywire AA-rated Robert Lloyd.
Analysis of female representation across other asset classes reveals some interesting patterns. The hedge fund world is a notorious male preserve, and an element of that culture appears to have carried over into the hedge fund-like offerings of retail fund groups.
Of the 23 fund sectors to feature not a single female fund manager, seven are ‘Alternative Ucits’ sectors, the moniker given to funds that, like hedge funds, are able to ‘short’ shares and employ complex derivatives. Of the more mainstream fund sectors, the UK mid cap sector stands out as one without any female managers.
Examine the world’s biggest fund sectors, and female under-representation appears most acute within equity funds. Global, US and US small and medium company equities are the three biggest fund sectors in the world, with women accounting for less than 9% of managers in each.
But in the biggest fixed income sector, global bonds, they make up 11.3%. Women also make up proportionally more of the numbers in ‘mixed asset’ funds, which are allowed to invest in a variety of investments, including shares, bonds, property and commodities. In the two biggest sectors of these funds, women account for more than 12% of managers.