Now Girls Who Invest is positioned to help more women, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, announced Monday. The grant will provide scholarships for approximately 40 women at U.S. colleges and universities so they can take four-week training programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Notre Dame or UCLA.
“We’re enormously grateful to the Coca-Cola Foundation for so generously supporting our mission to promote and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the investment-management industry,” said Janet Cowell, Girls Who Invest’s CEO .
Asset management can be some of the most lucrative work in finance. While many mutual-fund firms have lost business to passively managed funds, most are still ultra-profitable, and private-equity and hedge-fund managers still command huge fees and earn Wall Street’s biggest fortunes.
Men jealously guard this lucrative turf, and one way to gauge that is to look at the most recent list of the 25 most powerful women in finance put out by American Banker. The list includes eight women from the world of money management, including Fidelity’s Abby Johnson, the third generation to run the giant family business. The 2011 list had six women working in money management.
Data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that in 2017 women held 50% of all jobs in finance and insurance, down from 60% in 2007. Meanwhile, the number of women in senior jobs fell to 25,000 from 30,000.
One plausible explanation comes from Melissa Fisher, a cultural anthropologist at NYU and author of the 2012 book Wall Street Women. “The places where people bond, whether it’s on the golf course, after-work drinks or something else, women still are excluded from those things with rare exceptions,” she told Crain’s during the summer.
Sallie Krawcheck, former chief financial officer at Citigroup and head of Merrill Lynch, observed in a 2011 interview that men are simply more comfortable hiring people who look and sound like themselves.
“Putting in someone who’s diverse, has a diverse background, a different background always feels like a risk,” said Krawcheck, who today runs Ellevest, an investment firm that focuses on women and manages more than $300 million in client money.
There’s hope that things are changing, however. One of the hot ideas in the money-management world is ESG funds, which are pools that invest based on environmental, social and governance factors in addition to the traditional methods of evaluating companies. These funds historically have been managed by women, Morningstar says, and it’ll be interesting to see if men make a move to take control now that they’re resonating with the investment community.
Morningstar researchers Madison Sargis and Laura Pavlenko Lutton observed that more female than male fund managers are chartered financial analysts, which means they’ve passed a test that takes three years to complete and that more than 40% fail.
Sure sounds like it.