Do Daves Still Outnumber Women in Fund Management?

For the third year running, we look at how many funds are run by women and how many are run by men called Dave

Sunniva Kolostyak 8 March, 2022 | 9:25AM
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It has become a Morningstar tradition to mark International Women’s Day by looking at how many fund managers in the UK are female, and whether that number surpasses the number of funds run by men named Dave.

For the past two years, there have been more funds run by Daves than women, so has this trend continued into 2022 as well? We take a look.

This year, we have changed our methodology, and, as a result, the number of women surpass the number of fund managers named Dave. In our fund data we found 184 female fund managers running 329 funds between them (some run more than one mandate) – 17.8% of all UK funds.

On the other side, we found 59 fund managers in our sample with the name Dave or David. They head up 133 funds in total, equivalent to 7.2% of the UK-domiciled sample.

So what did we do different this year? As always, we have screened for actively-managed funds domiciled in the UK, but instead of screening for accumulation units only, we have selected the clean share class for each fund.

The resulting sample, after removing all funds where the managers were not disclosed, is 1,846 funds – a considerably higher number than the samples we have worked with in the past (last year the sample was 1,226 funds). The funds in our sample all together hold assets worth £835 billion.

Notably though, several of the funds are run by multiple Davids (henceforth known as "Double-Daves"). Premier Miton’s David Hambridge and David Thornton run several of the company’s multi-asset strategies, for instances, such as Premier Miton Multi-Asset Absolute Return (together with another two managers); David Horner and David Taylor run MI Chelverton’s UK equity income fund; Allianz Global Multi-Sector Credit has David Newman and David Butler; and David Millar and David Jubb run Invesco Managed Growth.

If we were to count the Double-Daves twice, we end up with 145 Dave-led funds. The same applies if we count the funds with more than one female manager multiple times; the number increases from 329 to 354 funds.

Only two funds in our universe have three female managers, and only one of these is female-only in its management: ASI UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Equity, run by Louise Kernohan, Lesley Duncan and Rebecca Maclean. Meanwhile, the nine-person management of Margetts Fund Management’s North American Equity includes Ann M. Holcomb, Jennifer O'Hara Martin and Susan Bao.

In total, 21 funds have two female managers, of which eight are female-only. Of the female-led funds, 77 are singlehandedly managed by one (female) manager.

The numbers continue to improve when we look at the size of the funds. While it's true women only occupy 11.8% of the fund manager positions, they do manage 20.8% (or £173 billion) of all assets in our dataset.

It’s also apparent that while there aren’t that many Daves altogether in the industry (although 3.5% is a notable amount), they do manage 8.6% of the total assets managed by funds in the UK. Together with all other male active fund managers, they are in charge of assets worth £662 billion (79.2% of our dataset).

What’s in a Name?

So it can appear that having the right name is important. But it isn’t only those named Dave who are thriving. Those named Mark, James and John are all popular too; there are at least 50 fund managers of each name. Those named Andrew, Paul and Christopher also hold sway in fund management, if we are to go by top names – as do Richards, Matthews and Simons.

Meanwhile, all the top 10 male names are more than twice as common as the top female fund manager name: Kate (and that includes HSBC’s head of world selection funds Kate Morrissey).

Before we pooled together different spellings of the same names (and our apologies to all the men whose full name is Jon and not Jonathan) we had to scroll down to 90th place in my list of the most common fund manager names to find the first female entry. So while Kate an Katies are most likely to do well in fund management, they remain woefully unrepresented against their male counterparts.

However, the women working within the fund management space say it is something more women should be considering. Last year, Alexandra Jackson, fund manager of the Rathbone UK Opportunities fund, highlighted that it requires emotional intelligence, attention to detail, common sense, and care, making it “a brilliant job, full stop, and it’s a brilliant job for women”.

Ruli Viljoen, head of manager selection at Morningstar says it's "pleasing" to see women being given the opportunity to run money. 

“Last year we highlighted the fact that the rights of minority groups were increasingly being brought to the fore," she says.

"This, together, with the ‘new norm’ that we increasingly find ourselves in, where working from home is perceived as a benefit and not an excuse to ‘slack off’, has no doubt helped level the playing field further too. Women are no longer forced to choose between having a career or being on hand to provide for their families."

"Additionally, men have realised that they too are able to help, and Morningstar has seen an increase in the number of fund managers who have resigned to 'spend more time with their family as they realise how, over the years’, they may have lost out.

“While it is pleasing to see a rise in the number of female fund managers. it is even more pleasing to see how their profile is being raised too as evidenced by the appointment of Katie Trowsdale to head up the abdrn Multi-Manager Strategies team in 2021," she added.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Sunniva Kolostyak  is data journalist for Morningstar.co.uk