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Alpha Female 2018: Nobody said ‘Right, let’s get a woman in here’

Alpha Female 2018: Nobody said ‘Right, let’s get a woman in here’

Citywire’s Alpha Female 2018 survey revealed that mixed-gender teams produce better risk/returns than single-sex teams. We spoke to leading players in mixed-gender teams to uncover how.

Citywire AAA-rated Paola Binns of Royal London Asset Management is one of the most consistent fund managers in our database, having held a Citywire rating for her risk-adjusted outperformance in 81 of the 88 months in which she has been eligible since 2011.

Binns and Richard Nelson have co-run the £708 million Royal London Investment Grade Short Dated Credit fund since it was launched in December 2015.

Binns believes there is truth to the idea that a mixed-gender team can provide a good balance on risk, but she is wary of catch-all comments when every team’s dynamic is different.

‘There is a feeling that many women are more risk-averse than male investors. That may be true among asset managers, but I would argue that there are many female traders I have worked with who were pretty punchy themselves.

‘That said, I do think there is a feeling among asset managers that female fund managers are more likely to act with a moment’s pause rather than jumping straight into something.

'Again, without generalising a whole gender, it means female fund managers would take on less risk than men.’

Binns highlights how her five-strong team is also diverse beyond the male/female divide, adding that this is something that should be encouraged.

‘The point I try to make to our clients as an asset manager is that there are benefits to having diverse views – whether that’s gender, ethnicity or age.

'We have some more senior members of the team who are beneficial because they have lived through certain cycles before or have known issuers for a longer period of time. In the same way, people of different genders or ethnicities offer different perspectives.

‘The team has grown organically into a more diverse unit. I don’t think there was a cynical view that the three-man team I first joined ever thought: “Right, let’s get a woman in here.”

'A lot of it is organic but also client-driven in the sense that they wanted different views and different perspectives. This is one way to achieve that.’

To read the Alpha Female 2018 report in full please click here.

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