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How to Accelerate Change for Women in Investment Management

Despite some encouraging signs, women’s participation in the investment management industry has remained stagnant for more than 20 years. This is according to data presented during DE&I in the Investment Management Industry, a virtual executive roundtable. The Women Business Collaborative, the Investment Adviser Association and Morningstar hosted the event.

The data picture of women’s underrepresentation in investment management was presented by Laura Lutton, Head of Asset Management Solutions at Morningstar and Sarah Maynard, Global Head of External Inclusion and Diversity Strategies and Programs at the CFA Institute.

Leaders sparking change

The roundtable was moderated by former Oak Hill Advisors Partner Alex Jung and Investment Adviser Association President & CEO Karen Barr. Strategies for creating a path forward were offered by three leading asset management CEOs. Together, they represent more than 85 years of combined experience and oversee more than $4.5 trillion in assets. This includes:

  • Yie-Hsin Hung, CEO of New York Life Investment Management
  • Jenny Johnson, President & CEO of Franklin Templeton
  • Michelle Seitz, Chairman & CEO of Russell Investments

Women in investment management

Globally, the rate of women mutual fund managers is unchanged since 2000 at about 14 percent. This is according to new data presented by Morningstar’s Lutton. There are bright spots. The representation of women in parts of Asia is north of 20 percent and is approaching 30 percent in China. But in the U.S. and U.K., the rate is below the global average.

One point of encouragement is that more women are in the talent pipeline, seeking the professional credentials necessary to be competitive in the investment management industry. The CFA Institute’s Maynard noted that between 2015 and 2020, the participation by women in the CFA Program grew from 32 percent to 41 percent. In real numbers, the number of women candidates for the CFA designation doubled over that period, from 70,000 to 140,000.

Roundtable discussions

Continuing to build reliable data sets is crucial to building strategies for change. Each of the CEO panelists provided insights for accelerating positive change.

Franklin Templeton President & CEO Jenny Johnson said investment management executives need to view the hiring and promotion of women as “an unbelievable opportunity. If you have an underutilized group of very talented individuals, this is an incredible investment opportunity. Firms must consider what they are doing to build a pipeline and ensure advancement opportunities for women.  We must advocate for groups that have been historically underrepresented to start joining investment management firms. They need to envision themselves in our industry in the future. Firms need to help plant the seed early at the foundation of their careers.”

“You have to resource this effort like any major strategic initiative with commitment from the top and embed diversity and inclusion into every step of our processes around talent, in interviews and promotions, to increase the likelihood of achieving the outcome we all desire,” said New York Life Investment Management CEO Yie-Hsin Hung. “As women leaders, there’s also an opportunity for us to bring more women into our industry. We can succeed by sharing our stories with the next generation and by sharing how we make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

“Women take the exams, graduate from esteemed universities, and apply for jobs. We need to make sure that once they’re in our pipeline, we provide opportunities to get them on track for promotions and leadership roles,” said Russell Investments CEO Michelle Seitz. “We need to attract and retain people once they’re in the field.”

A recording of the executive roundtable DE&I in the Investment Management Industry is available online.    

About Women Business Collaborative

Women Business Collaborative is an alliance of business women’s organizations working together to achieve equal position, pay and power for all women in business. The group has millions of diverse, professional women and men, business organizations, public and private companies and the media leveraging the power of collaboration to accelerate change.

About Investment Adviser Association

The Investment Adviser Association is the leading trade association representing the interests of fiduciary investment adviser firms. The IAA’s firms collectively manage more than $25 trillion in assets for a wide variety of institutional and individual investors. In addition to serving as the voice of the advisory profession on Capitol Hill and before the SEC, DOL, CFTC and other U.S. and international regulators, the IAA provides extensive compliance and educational services to its membership. For more information, visit

About Morningstar, Inc.

Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The company offers products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors and institutional investors in the debt and private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings. This includes managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $227 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Dec. 31, 2020.

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