UBS has launched a portfolio that invests only in women-led hedge funds in an effort to improve diversity and uncover hidden talents in a traditionally male-dominated sector.
The Swiss bank’s business management arm has launched the Carmen portfolio in recent weeks after the trials, said people who know the matter. It aims to raise about 10 to 15 funds to the world where a woman has unique or common discretion over asset investment.
The launch comes at a time of growing investor interest in funds managed by women and minorities, with U.S. pension plans and other large allocators increasingly looking to make investments based on environmental, social criteria. and governance.
David Swensen, chief investment officer of the late Yale Endowment Fund, wrote last year to external investment managers, saying he was looking for “a level of diversity in investment management firms that reflects diversity in the world in which we live. “
Female representation in hedge funds, at 18.6 percent, is the second lowest in seven alternative asset classes, according to the Preqin data group, and fell marginally last year. Women accounted for 10.9 percent of older employees in hedge funds, a slight increase over the previous year.
UBS declined to comment specifically on the launch of the Carmen portfolio, but Claire Tucker, senior investment officer at UBS’s hedge fund unit, said women were “underrepresented, particularly on the downside. ‘investment, despite the lack of evidence justifying that by skills or differences in performance’.
Hedge funds managed by women were able to limit losses better than those managed by men during last spring’s market, while also taking advantage of the subsequent market boom.
However, this year they have delayed the broader industry, which has benefited from strong gains in the stock markets and other risky assets. The HFR Women’s Access Index gained 6.5 percent in the first half, while the HFRI 500 Weighted Composite Fund rose 9.2 percent.
Among those who will do well is Leda Braga’s Systematica, whose $ 4.4 billion Alternative Markets Fund grows by about 14%, according to numbers sent to investors. Lan Wang Simond’s Mandarin Offshore Fund is up 3.2 percent.
“It’s been a particularly strong environment for hedge funds in general, with [the first half of the year] stated that it is the strongest in history, so it is not surprising to see funds managed by women who have historically exhibited more robustness in markets lagging slightly behind, ”said Russell Barlow, world head of investment strategies alternative in Aberdeen Standard Investments.
UBS’s launch comes after Aberdeen Standard Investments last year announced its first fund that tracks the performance of a women-managed hedge fund index built by the HFR data group.
The UBS portfolio will be actively managed, using quantitative analysis and other analysis to select the funds to invest. UBS has built a database of more than 340 women who are single or jointly managed or, in the case of funded funds, have significant influence on the research behind the fund’s algorithms.
“Women-led funds are struggling to attract as much capital as men-led companies,” said UBS’s Tucker, although noting “there has been a growth in customer interest in diversity.” .
According to UBS, hedge fund strategies such as the relative value of fixed and macro income tend to have fewer female portfolio managers.
Tucker said the company had “asked more difficult questions [of hedge funds], such as, “Why aren’t there women on the investment team?” “It also aims to help women who manage a portion of a hedge fund but who are not the primary fund manager to launch their own portfolios by providing start-up capital.