Call for more gender diversity in family offices

There needs to be more gender diveristy in the management of family offices, said panellists at AsianInvestor's Family Office Forum in Singapore. 

While delegates heard how women involved at board management level made a positive contribution, the extent of their involvement in family offices across the region was still limited.

Speaking at the forum in Singapore, Ivo Bartoletti, chief executive officer of Oclaner Asset Management, said: "Women, when they are more hands-on and are very clear in communicating ideas."

However, Soumya Rajan, chief executive of Indian multi-family office Waterfield Advisors, said women's influence on family office activities had been felt more on the philanthropic side. "The investment idea is still dominated by men," she said.

Korea and Japan have the lowest female representation at a corporate level, with Singapore also low on the list, according to Steve Diggle, managing director of the Hrothgar family office.

In India, Rajan said that regulations introduced in 2014 mandated that at least one woman representative be present on each company's board. However, India is a long way from acheiving proper gender diversity, as many firms have failed to comply with the new ruling.

Research firm Morningstar revealed unpublished analysis during AsianInvestor's 2nd Women in Asset Management forum in Hong Kong last month, confirming that women enjoyed higher rates of gender equality in Asian financial centres than their US counterparts.

Looking at the number of women running Asian equities versus women managing US equities, Morningstar found that female managers were considerably more common in the key Asian markets of Singapore and Hong Kong.

Of funds managed in Asia, some 20% of managers running regional and single Asian equities and fixed income portfolios for sale in Hong Kong and Singapore were women, compared with less than  10%^ managing US open-ended funds.

Wing Chan, director of manager research for Asia at Morningstar, said: "The key takeaways from the data are that strategy and not ghender is more of a factor determining investment performance and certain portfolio characteristics such as turnover."

Source: AsianInvestor

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