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Women in Investing: Trends in the Mutual Fund Industry

A look at U.S. fund manager trends by gender

Kathryn Wing, Morningstar Research Services LLC


In a recent paper, Morningstar explored whether performance could help explain the lack of women representation in the fund industry. We looked at both manager and fund performance, and we found there’s no statistical difference of performance by gender.

Our research for the paper led us to dig into other trends in the mutual fund industry.

We didn’t publish all our findings in our previous paper, because we chose to focused on the performance factor. But we did want to share some of our other findings below, as we believe they can help shed more light on the mutual fund industry.

You can find a complete set of these mutual fund industry trends by gender—called “Women In the U.S. Fund Industry - A Closer Look”—on Morningstar DirectSM

What we found when we looked closer at gender trends in the mutual fund industry   

In our paper, we included the net number of women and men in the industry over time to highlight the lack of women entering the mutual fund industry compared to men. Here, we take a closer look into mutual fund industry trends like this by breaking out the number of net entrants by asset class. We also explore the number of managers in the industry and the average tenure of managers on funds and in the industry. And we tally the number of funds in the industry and sizes of teams managing funds.

Men have outpaced women entering the mutual fund industry

We found the number of mutual funds increased over time from about 2,400 active equity and fixed-income funds in 1990 to about 8,000 funds at year-end. Men entering the industry mimic the shape of this growth of mutual funds in their respective asset classes, but the number of women don’t. This confirms our finding that as one woman entered the industry, another left—netting near zero women entering the industry year over year.

Tenure is similar, regardless of gender

Additionally, we found some similarities between men and women in the industry. For instance, the average industry tenure (how long a person has been a portfolio manager) and manager tenure (how long a person has been on a fund) were near identical for men and women. This discounts assumptions that men stay in the industry, or remain manager of a fund, longer than women do.

The observations can help explain the mutual funds’ environment at a given point in time. By showing how women and men relate to these trends, we believe we can better understand why there’s a lack of representation of women in the fund industry.

This blog post is adapted from research that was originally published in Morningstar Direct’s Research Portal. If you’re a user, you have access. If not, take a free trial.

Please see below for important disclosure. 

Learn more on female fund manager performance by downloading our report, “Fund Managers by Gender – Through the Performance Lens.”

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Important Disclosure

The information, data, analyses and opinions presented herein do not constitute investment advice; are provided solely for informational purposes and therefore are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. The opinions expressed are as of the date written and are subject to change without notice. Except as otherwise required by law, Morningstar shall not be responsible for any trading decisions, damages or other losses resulting from, or related to, the information, data, analyses or opinions or their use. The information contained herein is the proprietary property of Morningstar and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, or used in any manner, without the prior written consent of Morningstar. Investment research is produced and issued by subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC, registered with and governed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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