Hedge fund women go undercover

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Female hedge fund managers are better than men, so why are there so few of them?

According to Reuters the all-new 'HFRX Diversity Index' suggests women hedge fund managers earn better returns than their male colleagues. Since 2003, they - together with ethnic minority managers who may in fact be men - have returned 11.3% annually net of fees, compared to 7.8% for the average white male hedge funder.

This being the case, where are all the women in the hedge fund industry? We asked a few 'insiders' whether they come across many females in pursuit of outstanding alpha and the answer was a resounding "no".

Peter Elliott, a director at hedge fund-focused recruiter Emerson Chase, said the split for front-office hedge fund roles is typically 70% men, 30% women (it's 50:50 in back- and middle-office roles). Louise Gjertson, a director of hedge fund consultancy HedgeSupport, which helps people found hedge funds, said only 20% of her clients are women - if that.

What's behind the disparity? No one was entirely sure, although there were the usual mutterings about old boys' networks etc.

Alternatively, could it be that there are lot of women in the hedge fund industry, but they're concealed amongst the foliage of high profile men? Amanda Pullinger, executive director of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, an industry association, says there are in fact plenty of women about - the association has 6,000 members, including the likes of Gay Huey Evans, president of Tribeca Global Management, the 5bn multi-strategy fund run by Citigroup.

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