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UBS launches portfolio to put money into women-led hedge funds

UBS has launched a portfolio that invests solely in hedge funds led by girls in an effort to enhance variety and spot hidden expertise in a historically male-dominated sector.

The Swiss financial institution’s asset administration arm launched the Carmen portfolio in current weeks after trials, stated individuals conversant in the matter. It is going to purpose to choose round 10-to-15 funds globally the place a girl has sole or joint discretion over the funding of the belongings.

The launch comes at a time of rising investor curiosity in women- and minority-run funds, with US pension plans and different giant allocators more and more seeking to make investments based mostly on environmental, social and governance standards.

The late Yale endowment fund chief funding officer David Swensen final yr wrote to exterior funding managers, saying it was on the lookout for “a degree of variety in funding administration companies that displays the range on the planet by which we reside”.

Feminine illustration in hedge funds, at 18.6 per cent, is the second-lowest throughout seven various asset lessons, in line with information group Preqin, and fell marginally over the previous yr. Ladies characterize 10.9 per cent of senior workers at hedge funds, a slight improve on the earlier yr.

UBS declined to remark particularly on the launch of the Carmen portfolio however Claire Tucker, senior funding officer at UBS’s fund of hedge funds unit, stated girls had been “under-represented, significantly on the funding facet, regardless of a scarcity of proof justifying that by talent or efficiency variations”.

Hedge funds run by girls have been capable of restrict losses higher than these run by males throughout final spring’s market plunge, whereas additionally cashing in on the following market rebound.

Nevertheless, this yr they’ve lagged the broader business, which has profited from robust beneficial properties in fairness markets and different dangerous belongings. The HFR Ladies Entry index has gained 6.5 per cent within the first half, whereas the HFRI 500 Fund Weighted Composite is up 9.2 per cent.

Amongst these to do properly is Leda Braga’s Systematica, whose $4.4bn Different Markets fund is up round 14 per cent, in line with numbers despatched to buyers. Lan Wang Simond’s Mandarin Offshore fund is up 3.2 per cent.

“It has been a very robust surroundings for hedge funds basically, with [the first half of the year] reported to be the strongest in historical past, so it’s not shocking to see the women-run funds which have traditionally exhibited extra robustness in down markets lag barely”, stated Russell Barlow, international head of different funding methods at Aberdeen Normal Investments.

UBS’s launch comes after Aberdeen Normal Investments final yr introduced it will debut a fund that tracks the efficiency of an index of women-run hedge funds constructed by information group HFR.

UBS’s portfolio shall be actively managed, utilizing quantitative and different evaluation to pick funds to put money into. UBS has constructed a database of greater than 340 girls who’re sole or joint managers or, within the case of computer-driven funds, have vital affect over the analysis behind the fund’s algorithms.

“Ladies-led funds battle to draw as a lot capital as male-led friends,” stated UBS’s Tucker, though noting “there was a rise in shopper curiosity in variety”.

Hedge fund methods akin to macro and stuck revenue relative worth are inclined to have fewer feminine portfolio managers, in line with UBS.

Tucker stated the agency had been “asking tougher questions [of hedge funds], akin to: ‘Why are there no girls on the funding group?’” It additionally plans to assist girls who run a part of a hedge fund however usually are not the principle fund supervisor launch their very own portfolios by offering preliminary capital.

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