Women in Alternative Investments Report

Women in Alternative Investments Report

The Time is Now: Real Change, Real Impact, Seize the Moment


This year’s “Women in Alternative Investments Report” (WAI Report) is about evolution and the potential for transformation.

It has been five years since the WAI Report launched, and, in many ways, it seems like there has not been much progress in terms of women’s advancement in alternatives. Yet, there are reasons to be hopeful.

Women in Alternative Investments Report

The report incorporates insights from an online survey of 791 alternative investment professionals globally and from interviews with industry leaders. From our survey responses, key themes emerged:

Macro Outlook

  • Nearly half of our fund and investor respondents believe the global economy is in late cycle.

Sector Outlook

  • Outlook for hedge funds over the next 18 months is mixed, according to survey respondents. Expected performance and investment opportunities for hedge funds will see the greatest improvement among all sectors surveyed (private equity, venture capital and real estate) according to a plurality (over 40 percent) of respondents. And yet hedge funds will take the hardest hit in allocations, with 18 percent of our investor respondents expecting to decrease allocations to the sector over the same timeframe.

Fund Management and Capital-Raising

  • As in prior years of the WAI Survey, women are most often seen in C-level positions in compliance, marketing and financial roles at the funds represented in our survey. This year, women represent 13 percent of CEOs and 19 percent of CIO/Portfolio Managers at the firms represented in our survey, slightly down from last year.
  • Twenty-six percent of the women-owned/-managed funds in our study plan to grow their fund to $1 billion or more in assets under management (AUM).

Emerging Manager and Women-Owned/-Managed Fund Allocations

  • Emerging manager programs are on the rise among investor respondents. Forty percent of this year’s investor respondents have an emerging manager program or fund whereas only 33 percent of last year’s respondents had one.
  • This year, ten percent of our investor respondents have specific mandates for women-owned/-managed funds. This is a significant improvement since our 2013 survey in which only two percent of investor respondents had women-owned/-managed mandates.

Gender Diversity: Views from Across the Globe

  • A plurality of respondents (42 percent) support government-mandated quotas or guidelines seeking gender diversity on corporate boards. Thirty-six percent believe such quotas will improve gender diversity in alternatives.
  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents believe it is more difficult for women fund managers to succeed in the industry than their male peers. The overwhelming majority also believe that it is harder for women-owned/-managed funds to attract capital. North America is the least optimistic of all regions surveyed about the potential for women’s advancement in alternatives.

While last year’s Report was about “The Path Forward” for women in alternatives, this year’s Report is about seizing the moment.

Change is upon us. It is up to investors to join the call and consider diversity of investment teams and underlying investments. It is up to firms to embark upon bold new initiatives that seek transformation. And it is up to women to seize this moment of opportunity.

The time is now.

“In order to grow and innovate in today’s fast-changing marketplace, alternative investment organizations – and businesses across every industry – must draw from a diverse range of experiences, thinking and perspectives. That’s why KPMG is committed to the advancement, development and empowerment of women within our organization and the broader marketplace.”

 - Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, KPMG LLP

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