Women make up just 9.2 per cent of all UK retail investment fund managers, a slight improvement from the 8.5 per cent last year, research has revealed.
Despite forming a small overall proportion of managers and co-managers, the latest findings support an on-going upward trend which as seen the proportion of female managers doubling since wealth management firm Tilney first conducted its annual study into the subject.
Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Group, said: “Fund management is first and foremost a human capital industry, reliant on finding very bright and analytical staff to look after other people’s wealth.
"It's clearly not healthy for the long term success of the industry to have such an imbalance like this because it suggests it is not effectively drawing upon the widest pool of talent.”
While acknowledging that companies should look to talent and ability rather than gender, he noted that there are only so many funds and management positions, which are often filled by experts who are not looking to move on.
Mr Hollands said: “Firms can make a difference when recruiting at the graduate entry level and especially in areas like research which is often the key stepping stone into portfolio management.
"Achieving improved gender diversity will also enable the fund management industry to speak with greater authority when engaging with company Boards on matters of diversity as many firms seek to do as active shareholders.”
Mark Burgess, chief investment officer for EMEA at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said clearly more needs to be done.
"Asset management should be known as an industry where women can have a long, successful and rewarding career.
"Putting aside the issue of fairness in terms of access to a highly rewarding career, our industry is missing out on a huge pool of talent and resource.
"This pool is not only populated with individuals who are just as capable as those who currently work in the industry, but it potentially brings an entirely different and valuable skill set into the mix.”