The Best Female Portfolio Managers in Asia

These managers earn among the highest ratings in our People Pillar

Kate Lin 8 March, 2023 | 9:38AM
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Woman fund manager

In Asia, solo female managers – and all-female teams – are still difficult to come by, and so representation of women in portfolio management has mostly come through mixed-gender teams. For funds that are for sale in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan (and subsets of the three), women account for less than one-fifth of the total universe.

Despite this underrepresentation, female portfolio managers' results speak for themselves.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we decided to showcase a few exceptional female managers. These seven female portfolio managers that earn High or Above Average People ratings from Morningstar Analysts in the region. They are either a sole manager or a lead manager in a mixed-gender team managing at least one high-rated medalist fund distributed in the region.

The Best Women Fund Managers in Asia

Three of the women on the list score the top rating of "High" in the People Pillar:

  • Joanna Kwok (J.P. Morgan Asset Management);
  • Pauline Ng (J.P. Morgan Asset Management);
  • Louisa Lo (Schroders).

Joanna Kwok, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

With her consistently-demonstrated deep expertise in Asian small caps and a passion for investing, Joanna Kwok has achieved a stellar long-term track record that few peers can match. Analysts think she is one of the industry’s most impressive managers for Asia ex-Japan small-cap investments.

Kwok took over the lead manager role of Gold-rated JPMorgan Asian Smaller Companies in April 2013, which followed a time-tested and well-codified investment approach. She also co-manages Bronze-rated JPMorgan Asia Growth with Mark Davids.  

"Kwok has delivered impressive long-term results, outpacing the MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Small Cap Index by a considerable margin and landing in the top quintile among peers over her tenure. While the strategy struggled in 2022 as its growth orientation faced significant stylistic headwind and a number of its IT holdings were impacted by the cyclical correction in the sector, we remain confident in Kwok’s ability to add value over the long run thanks to her investment capability and adherence to a proven investment approach.”

Samuel Lo, senior manager research analyst at Morningstar

Pauline Ng, JP Morgan Asset Management

Another outstanding manager at JP Morgan Asset Management also makes the cut. Pauline Ng is an expert in ASEAN equities.

At the helm of the Silver-rated JPMorgan ASEAN fund, Ng earns a high People and Process rating. She is closely supported by her five-member ASEAN team and and among them, Desmond Loh, Stacey Neo, and Chang Qi Ong are the comanagers here.

"We continue to think highly of JPMorgan ASEAN’s strong management team and well-codified approach. The fund has delivered impressive benchmark-and peer-relative returns since she took the lead of this ASEAN strategy in January 2009."

Hunter Beaudoin, associate manager research analyst at Morningstar

Louisa Lo, Schroders                      

Having almost three decades of investment experience, Louisa Lo, an established Greater China expert, earns the highest rating in the People Pillar in the highest overall analyst rating of Gold in three strategies, namely Schroder ISF China Opps, Emerging Asia, and Greater China. She is also lead manager for the Silver-rated Schroder ISF Taiwanese Equity.

Lo has consistently impressed the manager research team at Morningstar with clearly articulated market and stock insights. Lo has delivered stellar returns across all her strategies. For instance, she beats her peer groups with the clean share classes of the three Gold-rated strategies on a basis of medium- and long-term performance.

"While we remain watchful of the team’s stability, the strong portfolio manager bench and robust investment framework has helped weather departures and upkeep the research quality."

Claire Liang, senior manager research analyst

Other Top Woman Managers in Asia

The four other managers on the list receive a People Pillar rating of Above Average:

  • Flavia Cheong (abrdn);
  • Sophia Li (FSSA Investment Managers);
  • Elizabeth Soon (Pinebridge Investments);
  • Anh Lu (T. Rowe Price).

Flavia Cheong, abrdn

Flavia Cheong is a leader at the UK-headquartered firm, heading up the Asia-Pacific equity investments. For abrdn Asia Pacific Sust Eq A, she co-manages them alongside four other managers.

"The pod draws on a large and experienced Asia-Pacific equities team of 45 members across eight locations and is one of the largest teams in the industry. The team has undergone several changes over the past few years, including the creation of the pod structure in 2019; the sector debate groups; and reworking of the pay structure to link it more closely with performance."

Samuel Lo, senior manager research analyst at Morningstar

Sophia Li, FSSA Investment Managers

Sophia Li is a lead manager on the FSSA Japan Equity strategy, alongside two comanagers, investment veteran Martin Lau and Richard Jones.

"Li has managed this strategy since its 2015 inception, and she has proved her investment skills by achieving solid results and consistently providing keen investment insights over the years. She has managed Japanese equities since 2010, along with comanager Martin Lau, a highly-regarded FSSA veteran. She is well versed in FSSA’s quality-focused investment philosophy, having started her career with the firm in 2009."

Samuel Lo, senior manager research analyst at Morningstar

Elizabeth Soon, Pinebridge Investments

Elizabeth Soon boasts 33 years of investment experience. Her PineBridge Asia exJapan SmCap Eq looks for quality-growth companies at reasonable valuations.

"Soon is actively engaged in the research process and has consistently demonstrated a good grasp of the portfolio during our meetings. She works closely with the 24-member Asia ex Japan equity team, which has 15 years of industry experience and eight years of firm tenure on average. While the strategy continues to benefit from the presence of Soon, who has delivered an impressive track record over her tenure, the strategy’s capacity issue has held back our conviction in this small-cap offering."

Samuel Lo, senior manager research analyst at Morningstar

Anh Lu, T. Rowe Price

Anh Lu’s skill and drive are manifested in her consistent outperformance over her 27-year investment career. "Anh Lu is a long-tenured and experienced portfolio manager. She brings 27 years of experience and has led this strategy since June 2009. We think she is a capable investor who has articulated solid investment cases during our meetings and constructed the portfolio in a thoughtful manner."

Claire Liang, senior manager research analyst

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About Author

Kate Lin  is an Editor for Morningstar Asia, and is based in Hong Kong

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