Helping clients meet their business challenges begins with an in-depth understanding of the industries in which they work. That’s why KPMG LLP established its industry-driven structure. In fact, KPMG LLP was the first of the Big Four firms to organize itself along the same industry lines as clients.

How We Work

We bring together passionate problem-solvers, innovative technologies, and full-service capabilities to create opportunity with every insight.

Learn more

Careers & Culture

What is culture? Culture is how we do things around here. It is the combination of a predominant mindset, actions (both big and small) that we all commit to every day, and the underlying processes, programs and systems supporting how work gets done.

Learn more

Climbing the leadership ladder in asset management: What are the opportunities for women now?

There’s no doubt about it: 20 years ago, the asset management industry was behind in promoting women into leadership roles. What can firms do for women wanting to take the leap to leadership?

In a dynamic and evolving professional landscape, achieving gender parity in leadership remains a critical imperative for fostering innovation, resilience, and success. This new KPMG study delves into the challenges faced by women moving into leadership roles and highlights strategic initiatives to develop a more inclusive environment. As the business world recognizes the transformative potential of diverse perspectives, it becomes paramount to address whatever limits women’s access to leadership opportunities. Women in leadership can mean better financial performance, improved risk management, and the ability to meet the evolving needs and expectations of clients, investors, and the broader market.

What are we seeing in the industry?

In 2023, KPMG studied how the playing field for women seeking leadership positions within asset management has changed since 2019. Fortunately, there have been recent successes improving the climate. However, there is still work to do. Structural and cultural factors such as bias and pay gaps are some of the causes of this, but there have been notable improvements:

  • Women directors in US firms rose from 11 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2018.
  • A significant 81 percent of women board members in asset management firms are externally appointed nonexecutives. This indicates a lack of internally developed women talent at the board level. The most prevalent career roles are accounting (33 percent), followed by general leadership positions.

This distribution suggests a preference for governance roles over management positions.

Advice from women leaders:

KPMG conducted focus group interviews with six women who have attained leadership roles in the asset management industry. Although their experiences were in many ways unique, all six described networking and mentoring as crucial to their successful rise up the corporate ladder. They all advised young women building careers today to pursue and accept opportunities without second guessing themselves or their skills and readiness to lead. Each leader interviewed also mentioned the benefits of remote and hybrid work since the COVID-19 pandemic. This work flexibility enables women in particular to combine career progress and family responsibilities to achieve better life/work integration while pursuing leadership goals.

What is the progress like in asset management?

To rapidly advance women leaders in the asset management industry, a multifaceted approach that incorporates leading with values, developing strong engagement, creating psychologically safe spaces, and working with purpose is essential. Fostering a workplace culture that leads with values, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, can set the foundation for a more supportive and inclusive environment for women especially. This involves not only articulating values but embedding them in every organization’s policies, practices, and decision-making. It remains true that there is disparity in women’s representation at the executive level at many asset management firms. While no firms have yet achieved gender balance—with women’s representation at some still below 50 percent, we are seeing increases in programs and opportunities designed specifically to enhance the leadership prospects for women in asset management.  

Where do we go from here?

As barriers continue to disappear and diversity becomes an imperative for sustainable success, opportunities for women to take on leadership roles are expanding at a rapid rate. The shifting dynamics underscore the recognition by large and small firms that diverse perspectives contribute to better decision-making and enhanced performance. Women leaders bring fresh insights, innovation, and resilience to the forefront, and their growing presence not only fosters a more inclusive culture within asset management but also propels the industry itself toward greater adaptability and long-term success. By embracing and championing the talents of women, the asset management industry is poised to flourish in an era defined by diversity, equity, and collaborative leadership.

Dive into our thinking:

Climbing the leadership ladder in asset management: What are the opportunities for women now?

To learn more, download the full report here:

Download PDF

Explore more

Talking Asset Management with KPMG

Your asset management source for ESG and sustainable investing, regulatory, operational, and valuation news and trends.

Read more

Explore other services tailored to your business

Thank you!

Thank you for contacting KPMG. We will respond to you as soon as possible.

Contact KPMG

Use this form to submit general inquiries to KPMG. We will respond to you as soon as possible.

By submitting, you agree that KPMG LLP may process any personal information you provide pursuant to KPMG LLP's Privacy Statement.

An error occurred. Please contact customer support.

Job seekers

Visit our careers section or search our jobs database.

Submit RFP

Use the RFP submission form to detail the services KPMG can help assist you with.

Office locations

International hotline

You can confidentially report concerns to the KPMG International hotline

Press contacts

Do you need to speak with our Press Office? Here's how to get in touch.