Gender Diversity Linked to Investment Performance: CFA Institute Study

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Research studies in the past have indicated that companies that rank high in terms of gender or ethnic diversity have a greater likelihood of achieving financial returns above their national industry average. Diversity appears to be a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over a period of time.

Now CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has completed the largest survey of investment management professionals on the subject of gender diversity to date. The study titled “Gender Diversity in Investment Management” found that a growing number of investment management professionals and investors – both individual and institutional – are placing increasing importance on gender diversity.

According to the report, 54 percent of individual investors said that they could expect better investment performance from or would prefer to work with a team of gender diverse investment professionals. A total of 55 percent of institutional investors held the same view.

However, while these numbers are encouraging, the fact remains that nearly half of the survey respondents do not believe that gender diversity is a significant issue in investment management. This may be a key reason why women in finance are still significantly underrepresented at every level.

The study finds that while women continue to make progress within the industry, much more needs to be done to ease the global bottleneck that is preventing their full and equitable advancement within the profession.

The report suggests that the gender disparity could be addressed by focusing on three important areas: providing young women with early exposure to the investment industry in their college years and early career; emphasizing to all investors the positive impact that gender diversity can have on investment performance; and working to bridge the work-life balance gap that disproportionately affects women.

Paul Smith, President and CEO of CFA Institute, said that it is unacceptable that a young woman today might feel that the doors of opportunity in the investment management profession are shut to her simply based on her gender. In 2016, this is something the financial industry cannot and should not tolerate. A focused effort to raise awareness of the benefits of gender diversity in investment management among women and investors alike will help to address both the supply and demand sides of the issue.

Source: CFA Institute

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