The percentage of women holding senior positions at European hedge funds has more than halved since 2021, according to a report on Wednesday by data provider Preqin. Commenting on the report, Megan Tobias Neely, a former hedge fund analyst, academic and author of “Hedged Out: Inequality and Insecurity on Wall Street”, said the COVID pandemic and upheaval in markets had seen the industry fall back on old habits. “Any perception of instability and people rely more on close ties in their network. During uncertain times, people do business more with people who look like them,” she told Reuters in an interview. “Men will do business with men, networks become segregated racially and in terms of nationality.” The percentage of women holding general and limited partner roles in hedge funds in Europe has fallen to just 8% in 2023 from 17.4% in 2021, according to Preqin data.
The Proportion of Women in The Hedge Fund Industry.
elsewhere in the world has dropped too, to 16.30% from 18.8% in North America, and to 18.9% from 21.2% in Asia over the same period. Of the 10 countries with the highest percentage of women holding senior positions at hedge funds, Hong Kong comes top with 17.3%, while Brazil has the lowest proportion, with 7%. The United States ranks fifth, with 12.9%, behind Hong Kong, Bermuda, France and Canada. Roughly 12% of UK hedge fund employees are women, according to the data. “When women in the industry engage in the same social behaviour as men and act aggressively, and this is something that is prided on, they get push-back,” Tobias Neely said, adding one of the challenges for women and people of colour working in the hedge fund industry was that they are perceived as riskier than their white male counterparts. This year, women still make up only 21.3% of the overall number of employees working at all levels in the alternative investments industry, which includes private equity, venture capital, private debt, real estate, infrastructure and natural resources, the report showed.