Proportion of female hedge fund and private equity partners on the increase

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Stéphane Rambosson, DHR International

One in eight (12 per cent) partners at hedge funds, private equity firms and other investment partnerships are now women, up from one in 10 (10 per cent) last year and the year before, according to DHR International.

DHR International’s analysis, based on data provided by the Financial Conduct Authority, shows that out of 3,509 partners at regulated firms, 405 were female in 2015. In 2014, there were 378 female partners out of a total of 3,666.
DHR International says the numbers suggest that hedge funds and private equity houses are outperforming the financial services sector as a whole in terms of gender diversity at a senior level. Recent research from DHR International found that just 7 per cent of CEOs of UK financial services businesses are women.
DHR says the benefits of engaging a wider range of views and backgrounds at the leadership level are well recognised as a means of boosting innovation and driving performance. This suggests that hedge funds and private equity firms should continue the process of encouraging women to put themselves forward for senior positions.
Stéphane Rambosson (pictured), managing director and head of financial services at DHR International, says: “While hedge funds and private equity houses are moving in the right direction when it comes to improving diversity at the most senior level, women still remain a small minority at the executive committee level.
“The fact that hedge funds and private equity houses are doing better than the overall financial services sector challenges the ‘boys club’ reputation that they have been associated with in the past.
“Like the financial services sector as a whole, creating a broader-based perspective among their top tier management remains a key issue.
“In an industry which is fiercely meritocratic, the opportunities are certainly there for the taking as firms compete to attract and retain the best people to drive their business forward. However, there are some practical hurdles to overcome.
“As diversity imbalances can often exist at all levels, strategies such as nurturing talent through the ranks by encouraging positive role models and implementing mentoring schemes are important steps, but take time to yield visible results.
“Recruiting potential partners from as wide a pool of skilled and experienced candidates as possible is vital but firms can often struggle to identify a suitable spread of possible contenders through their own channels or contacts. Setting targets may only go so far unless firms have a wide choice of candidates, and therefore firms may require specialist search expertise to help them broaden their reach.
“As progress is made in boosting numbers of women at the top across other industries, the financial services sector may come under pressure to do the same. As that happens, competition for the best talent is likely to heat up. Firms could reap rewards by taking a more pro-active approach now.”
The proportion of women on FTSE 100 boards is now 26 per cent, while at FTSE 250 companies it is 20.4 per cent.

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