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The 30 best female fund managers in the world

Alongside Citywire's annual Alpha Female Report, we are pleased to introduce our inaugural awards for the world's best female fund managers.

The Alpha Female Awards 2019 presents the top 30 women fund managers across all asset classes drawn from Citywire’s fund manager database of just over 1,725 female names. This accounts for 10.8% of the total 16,000 fund managers we currently track globally.

The awards recognise the elite women fund managers for their consistent outperformance over the past five years.

In order to qualify for inclusion, a manager must have been active for a minimum of 70% of the five years to the end of May 2019 and still be active at the end of that period.

Managers are then ranked using a points-based system based on Citywire’s ratings methodology, approved by actuary AKG, which calculates a manager’s three-year risk-adjusted performance to produce the manager ratio (MR). This is a modified version of the information ratio and is defined as the annualised average excess return divided by the tracking error. It reflects how much ‘added value’ – in terms of outperformance against the benchmark – the fund delivers for each ‘unit’ of risk assumed (here, risk is defined as not merely tracking the index.

This factors in all the eligible funds, across all asset classes and sectors, that an individual has run over that time period in order to determine a Citywire AAA, AA, A or + rating each month for a fund manager, on a three-year rolling basis.

The individual fund manager’s monthly ratings are converted to points – AAA = 6, AA = 5, A = 4, + = 3 – and these are added up over the five years.

Once the eligibility criteria above has been met, the top 30 women managers are ranked by their accumulated points based on their Citywire monthly ratings.

Nisha Long is head of cross-border investment research at Citywire. 

Get this year's Alpha Female Report here. 

The Alpha Female Awards 2019 presents the top 30 women fund managers across all asset classes drawn from Citywire’s fund manager database of just over 1,725 female names. This accounts for 10.8% of the total 16,000 fund managers we currently track globally.

The awards recognise the elite women fund managers for their consistent outperformance over the past five years.

In order to qualify for inclusion, a manager must have been active for a minimum of 70% of the five years to the end of May 2019 and still be active at the end of that period.

Managers are then ranked using a points-based system based on Citywire’s ratings methodology, approved by actuary AKG, which calculates a manager’s three-year risk-adjusted performance to produce the manager ratio (MR). This is a modified version of the information ratio and is defined as the annualised average excess return divided by the tracking error. It reflects how much ‘added value’ – in terms of outperformance against the benchmark – the fund delivers for each ‘unit’ of risk assumed (here, risk is defined as not merely tracking the index.

This factors in all the eligible funds, across all asset classes and sectors, that an individual has run over that time period in order to determine a Citywire AAA, AA, A or + rating each month for a fund manager, on a three-year rolling basis.

The individual fund manager’s monthly ratings are converted to points – AAA = 6, AA = 5, A = 4, + = 3 – and these are added up over the five years.

Once the eligibility criteria above has been met, the top 30 women managers are ranked by their accumulated points based on their Citywire monthly ratings.

Nisha Long is head of cross-border investment research at Citywire. 

Get this year's Alpha Female Report here. 

1. Corrina Xiao

Allianz Global Investors

Allianz Global Investors Taiwan 

Total points: 330

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

‘Equal treatment for women and men is a fundamental principle of human rights,’ said Corrina Xiao, head of Taiwan equity investment at Allianz Global Investors. ‘We have to give everyone the same opportunities and make our industry more attractive for women.’

Xiao said Taiwan leads in Asia when it comes to gender equality, partly due to the high proportion of women in politics in the state. Allianz, she said, is also committed to diversity and fostering an inclusive workforce that benefits all its employees.

She added Taiwan is a good market to be in. ‘Beyond assembly, Taiwan does technology. Taiwan Semiconductor is the bedrock of future technology.’

But the biggest challenge, she said, is uncertainty. ‘Trade uncertainty has impacted global trade much more than tariffs via investment, consumption, inventories and prices.’

But this does not seem to have negatively impacted her performance, which has earned her the top spot in our Alpha Female Awards. She said her team-based investment process and active management approach have been the main drivers for strong performance.

‘With our strength in fundamental stock selection, active management allows us to look for tomorrow’s winners, whose growth potential is not yet adequately reflected in prices.’

Conversely, passive investment, she said, is backward-looking. ‘It tracks the world of yesterday.’

‘This means that, as prices rise, the weighting of the sector in the portfolio increases. As a result, passive management tends to be pro-cyclical.’

2. Isobel Lee

BNY Mellon Investment Management (Insight Investment) 

Insight Global (ex-UK) Bond

Total points: 321

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

‘I do not like to follow the crowd,’ said Insight Investment’s Isobel Lee, describing her high conviction investment process.

Lee, who has been at the helm of the Insight Global (ex-UK) Bond fund since 2007, is happy to deviate from the benchmark, but sets a high outperformance target for each individual position. Timing and position sizing are then guided by the firm’s risk management framework.

The approach has been successful, with the fund a standout performer, having returned 47.9% over five years to the end of June, compared with a sector average rise of 18.9%.

While feted now, Lee admits that being in a male-dominated industry, it probably took her ‘a bit longer to be confident enough to put myself forward in front of my male peers’.

‘Over the years I managed to overcome this and have been successful at demonstrating the value I added to the team as I continued to progress in my career,’ she said.

The industry has become more professionalised since she started out, Lee said, but she believes there are still hurdles to women succeeding in fund management.

‘We do need to change perceived stereotypes that everyone working in finance is a man from a specific social background. Creating opportunities for a more diverse set of candidates and encouraging young students to consider numerical subjects from early on would help remove this stereotype,’ she added.

3. Paola Binns 

Royal London Asset Management 

Royal London Sterling Credit 

Total points: 315

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 97

 

Corporate bond manager Paola Binns said the industry has become ‘far more meritocratic’ throughout her career.

And she has had an impressive career. She joined Royal London Asset Management in 2007 from Credit Suisse Asset Management, bringing with her 20 years’ experience in bond markets.

Binns boasts a strong track record, which she puts down to the experience and stability of her team. ‘We eschew the industry preference for the apparent safety of indices and benchmarks, credit ratings and liquidity,’ she said. ‘These won’t afford much protection when markets are falling.’

Instead, she seeks out investments that offer security to bondholders, including strong covenants and good income. ‘We not only want to be paid for the risks of investing; we also want to know that the income is as secure as possible. While other fund managers rule out unrated bonds or don’t have the research capabilities to identify such opportunities, this is one way in which we gain our edge.’

But given the current levels of interest rates and bond yields, Binns said the outlook for her asset class could be challenging. ‘If rates were to normalise, investors would be exposed to lower market prices. On the other hand, the current search for yield across all markets is a positive technical that is particularly supportive for corporate bonds,’ she said.

As well as meritocracy, Binns said she has seen her industry become more global and diversified over her career. ‘It has certainly grown, as well as having a higher profile within the overall economy.’

4. Joanna Kwok

JP Morgan Asset Management

JPM Asia Growth

Total points: 310

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Joanna Kwok is adapting her long-term thinking to an increasingly short-termist market, with the Hong Kong-based fund manager citing the deluge of information available nowadays as one of the toughest challenges she faces.

Kwok, who has 21 years of industry experience and 17 years at JPM AM, covers Asian and emerging market equities at the group. Having developed at the group, Kwok does not believe the fact she is a female fund manager has weighed on her career progression.

‘I feel I’m judged for the job I do and not for my gender. That’s not to say there is room for complacency across the industry more broadly,’ she says. 

‘What I hope is that when my daughter starts working – which won’t take place for many years, as she’s still very young – whatever field she targets, absolutely the only things that will matter will be her ability and her work ethic. I’m optimistic we’re making the right sort of progress.’

Kwok cites the strong team-based dynamic at JPM as aiding her outperformance, while her personal focus is on longer-term time horizons. She has sought to capitalise on the company’s far-reaching resources to uncover hidden opportunities.

‘Some of the best ideas can come from an oblique angle, e.g. by looking at a customer or a supplier or a competitor of a potential investment. That requires not only expertise, but also sharing of that expertise.’

 

5. Taeko Setaishi 

Atlantis Investment Management 

Atlantis Japan Opportunities 

Total points: 306

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Having operated in fund management for more than 30 years, Taeko Setaishi has seen many challenges but also countless learning opportunities. ‘The global financial crisis was particularly challenging for me because my fund struggled and relatively illiquid stocks had to be sold to meet redemption pressures.

‘However, in retrospect it was a learning experience, albeit brutal at times, and I came out of the crisis a much better portfolio manager than the person that went in,’ says Setaishi, who runs two Japan-focused funds at Asian investment house Atlantis.

As the market continues to evolve, Setaishi thinks sticking to her process – which she describes as thorough and independent – will be what ensures she stays relevant as the market moves further and further away from the one she first entered. ‘The current investment business barely resembles the one I entered.

‘The financial products on offer, the analytic tools, the depth and breadth of the information flow, intelligence of the participants have made this business exceptionally more professional than it was 20 year ago,’ says the Tokyo-based investor.

‘Looking ahead, I am positive on small/mid capitalized growth equities. Japanese stocks may struggle to make headway in an investment environment featuring depopulation, high public sector debt, etc. However, the structural economic changes under way are creating numerous investment opportunities.’

6. Olga Karakozova

Danske Fund Management Company

Danske Invest Russia Kasvu

Total points: 299

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Born in the Soviet Union in 1973, Olga Karakozova holds a PhD in finance from the Swedish School of Economics & Business Administration.

She began her career as a researcher at the Institute for Real Estate Economics and worked as an economist for Jones Lang LaSalle, before becoming chief analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Karakozova is currently based at Danske Capital in Finland, where she is senior portfolio manager in Russian equities.

Her defensive growth investment strategy employs neither the tactical use of cash nor derivatives. She invests across all market cap segments with particular emphasis on small and mid caps.

Outside work she is a theatre and music lover.

 

7. Elina Fung 

HSBC Global Asset Management 

HSBC GIF Asia ex-Japan Equity Smaller Companies 

Total points: 298

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 88

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Elina Fung joined HSBC Global Asset Management in 2007 and has been a portfolio manager since 2012. Prior to HSBC, she was a financial controller at Norstar Founders Group.

She holds a degree in business administration from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a fellow member of the HK Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

8. Henrietta Pacquement

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo (Lux) Worldwide 

Total points: 296

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 93

 

Henrietta Pacquement is a graduate of Cambridge University. She is currently a portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management, having spent four years at AXA Investment Managers as a quantitative analyst.

In 2006, she moved to Barclays Global Investors where she served in the same role, and a year later joined Wells Fargo.

Outside fund management, Pacquement enjoys tennis and the cinema. She is a CFA Charterholder.

9. Kristel Kivinurm-Priisalm

Avaron Asset Management 

Avaron Eastern Europe Fixed Income 

Total points: 296

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 90

 

Kristel Kivinurm-Priisalm began her financial career in 1997 at Trigon Capital. Since 2007 she has been working at Avaron Asset Management as a managing partner and investment manager.

Kivinurm-Priisalm co-manages two funds, the Avaron Emerging Europe and Avaron Eastern Europe Fixed Income funds using a value, fundamental bottom-up style. She is based in Tallinn and studied international business at Concordia International University (now Tallinn Technical University) in Estonia.

10. Luz Padilla 

DoubleLine Capital 

DoubleLine Emerging Markets Fixed Income 

Total points: 294

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 97

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Luz Padilla joined DoubleLine Capital in 2009 as the director of the emerging markets group and is the lead portfolio manager.

Prior to DoubleLine, she was a managing director at TCW. She began working at TCW in 1994, where she had served in a number of roles, and was involved in all aspects of building and managing its emerging market fixed income business.

11. Eva Fornadi 

Comgest 

Comgest Growth Europe Opps/Smaller Companies 

Total points: 291

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Eva Fornadi joined Comgest in 2005 and is a portfolio manager and analyst specialising in European small and mid cap companies. She co-leads the Europe Smaller Companies and Growth Europe Opportunities strategies.

Fornadi graduated with a BA with honours in business studies at Oxford Brookes University and a Hungarian BA in business studies at the International Business School in Budapest.

12. Elizabeth Soon

PineBridge 

PineBridge Asia ex-Japan Equity/India Equity 

Total points: 289

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 90

 

Elizabeth Soon holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the National University of Singapore and an MBA from Manchester Business School in the UK.

Prior to joining PineBridge in 2008, Soon was director and head of the Pacific Basin for Standard Life Investments Asia, where she was responsible for the management of the group’s Asian funds.

She spent 10 years at Schroder Investment Management in Hong Kong, where she was director and head of Asia ex-Japan. Her investment experience began at a predecessor firm of Allianz Global Investors, as portfolio manager and market specialist focused on Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Taiwan.

13. Nicole Goldberger 

JP Morgan Asset Management 

JPMorgan Diversified 

Total points: 282

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 98

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Nicole Goldberger is a portfolio manager on JP Morgan Asset Management’s multi-asset solutions team based in New York. An employee since 2003, Goldberger is responsible for manager selection and portfolio construction across both traditional and alternative asset classes.

She focuses on portfolio management, strategic asset allocation design and driving global tactical asset allocation (Gtaa) decisions across a range of multi-asset class investment solutions. She is the lead portfolio manager responsible for Gtaa and balanced business in New York. 

She is also a portfolio manager for flexible total return mandates with private markets. Previously, she was a portfolio manager on liability-driven investment portfolios, inflation-aware strategies and target date funds.

Goldberger earned a bachelor of science in finance from Boston College and is a CFA charterholder. 

14. Jian Shi Cortesi 

GAM 

GAM Multistock - Asia Focus/China Evolution

Total points: 276

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Jian Shi Cortesi is an Asian equities portfolio manager, responsible for the GAM Multistock Asia Focus fund. She began her career as an assistant editor at Dow Jones in Beijing. Shi Cortesi holds a degree in international business from Beijing Foreign Studies University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

15. Natalie Trevithick

Payden & Rygel 

Payden Low Duration Credit

Total points: 276

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Natalie Trevithick is a senior vice president and the lead strategist for investment grade corporates at Payden & Rygel.

Trevithick is responsible for managing corporate bond portfolios across a breadth of fixed income strategies, including low duration, core and core plus, global, emerging markets and absolute return.

Her experience also encompasses the use of derivatives, such as interest rate and credit default swaps, to manage risk and to develop customised investments for corporate bond portfolios.

16. Aisa Ogoshi

JP Morgan Asset Management 

JPM Pacific Equity 

Total points: 269

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Aisa Ogoshi works at JP Morgan Asset Management as a regional specialist for Asia Pacific inc Japan equities and is a member of the Japan team within the emerging markets and Asia Pacific equities team based in Hong Kong.

Ogoshi joined the firm’s equity derivatives group in Japan in 1998 and later transferred to the portfolio analysis group. In 2001, she became a portfolio manager within the Japan portfolio group and transferred to Hong Kong in 2005.

She obtained a BA in environmental information from Keio University, Japan.

17. Victoria Harling 

Investec Asset Management 

Investec GSF Emerging Markets Corporate Debt 

Total points: 263

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 93

% of time rated since eligible: 95

 

Victoria Harling is head of emerging market corporate debt and responsible for managing the emerging market corporate debt strategy and the emerging market investment grade corporate debt strategy at Investec Asset Management.

She joined Investec in 2011 from Nomura International, having previously spent over three years working at emerging market trading desks and capital markets teams for Standard Bank and Nomura.

She also spent two years running hedge fund and proprietary trading strategies for Rand Merchant Bank and Whitebeam Capital Management.

She graduated from Leeds University with a BSc in biochemistry with molecular biology. She is a CFA Charterholder.

18. Anne Bookwalter Walsh 

Guggenheim 

Guggenheim Floating Rate Strategies 

Total points: 263

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 83

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Anne B. Walsh is assistant chief investment officer, fixed income, senior managing director and portfolio manager at Guggenheim Partners. She is also portfolio manager for the Guggenheim Build America Bonds Managed Duration Trust.

Walsh joined Guggenheim Partner’s predecessor in 2007, and oversees more than $100 billion (£78 billion) in fixed income investments. She is responsible for portfolio design and strategy, sector allocation and risk management for client portfolios.

She also conveys Guggenheim’s macroeconomic outlook to portfolio managers and fixed income sector specialists. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Walsh served as chief investment officer at Reinsurance Group of America.

 

19. Chantana Ward 

Comgest

Comgest Growth Asia/Japan

Total points: 260

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 93

 

Chantana Ward joined Comgest in 1998. Based in Paris, she is an analyst and portfolio manager within the Japanese equity team, and she travels regularly to Japan to research companies and spend time with the Tokyo-based team members.

Ward co-leads funds within Comgest’s Asia ex-Japan, Asia including Japan and Japan equity strategies and has been an important contributor to their development.

Ward holds an MSc in finance from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business in New York, a dual diploma with The American University of Paris.

20. Goh San San 

Lion Global Investors 

LionGlobal Singapore Fixed Income Investment 

Total points: 259

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Goh San San runs the Asia local currency bonds team at Lion Global Investors and describes her investment style as benchmark-aware.

She began her career by working at Bloomberg for three years in the analytics and product development department.

21. Carine Beigbeder 

Financiere Arbevel 

Pluvalca Initiatives 

Total points: 259

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 77

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Carine Beigbeder is an equity fund manager at Financière Arbevel, having joined the group in 2013. She started her career in 1995 as a buy-side financial analyst at Putnam in London before moving to Merrill Lynch.

She then joined Selftrade in 2000 and set up the company’s research arm. She graduated from Paris Dauphine University and holds a DESS in finance from Sciences Po.

22. Chisako Hardie

AXA Investment Managers

AXA Framlington Japan 

Total points: 258

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 95

 

As a native Japanese speaker, Chisako Hardie believes she has an edge over many of her rivals in the relatively under-researched world of Japanese small caps.

She ran the Swip Japan Smaller Companies fund with a mix of growth and value styles. From September 2006 she ran the AXA Framlington Japan Smaller Companies fund, and she currently runs the AXA Framlington Japan fund.

She studied sociology at Keio University, Tokyo and worked as an investment analyst for five years before she became a fund manager in 1997.

23. Rebecca Kaddoum

Comgest

Managed European funds until May 2019

Total points: 258

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 98

% of time rated since eligible: 98

 

Rebecca Kaddoum joined Comgest in 2010 and was a portfolio manager and analyst specialising in European equities. She co-led the Europe Smaller Companies, Growth Europe Opportunities and Europe ex Switzerland strategies. Prior to joining Comgest, she worked at Citigroup in its M&A team.

She graduated from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor of business administration and holds a master’s degree in finance from the HEC business school in Paris.

24. Wen-Yan Zhu

Uni-President Asset Management 

UPAMC All Weather

Total points: 252

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 98

 

Wen-Yan Zhu of President Investment Trust is the manager of the UPAMC All Weather fund. She invests primarily in equities listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the OTC market.

Zhu made the jump from senior analyst to fund manager in 2007. She has also worked as a manager at E SUN Securities.

25. Jean Hynes 

Wellington Management 

Wellington Global Health Care Equity 

Total points: 250

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 98

% of time rated since eligible: 93

 

Jean Hynes is a global industry analyst and portfolio manager at Wellington Management. She is the sector team leader for the healthcare team.

As portfolio manager, she runs the Vanguard Healthcare fund, three global healthcare hedge funds, and global healthcare sector portfolios.

She has spent a large part of her career specialising in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

26. Tatjana Greil Castro

Muzinich & Co

Muzinich Enhancedyield Short-Term Hedged

Total points: 248

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 88

 

Since May 2007, Tatjana Greil Castro has worked at Muzinich & Co based in London. She manages Euro high yield and short-term bond funds along with institutional mandates.

She describes high market uncertainty as the best environment for her strategies. Born in Austria, she studied at London School of Economics, Kiel Institute of World Economics, and the University of Vienna.

 

27. Kate Howitt

Fidelity International 

Fidelity Australian Opportunities 

Total points: 243

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 80

% of time rated since eligible: 92

 

Kate Howitt is a portfolio manager at Fidelity International in Sydney. She has been with the firm since 2012 and is responsible for managing the Fidelity Australian Opportunities fund.

She gained her MBA from St John’s College, Santa Fe and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

28. Lisa Coleman 

JP Morgan Asset Management 

JPM Corporate Bond Portfolio 

Total points: 241

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 100

 

Lisa Coleman runs a number of funds at JP Morgan, where she has worked since 2008. She started out at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, before spells at Merrill Lynch and Brown Brothers.

She then moved to Allmerica Financial as a portfolio manager for six years, later joining Schroders as the head of global credit strategies and head of European fixed income.

Coleman is currently the head of JPM’s global investment grade corporate credit team. She has a BA in economics from Trinity College, Connecticut.

29. Silvia Franco Ballesteros

Banco Cooperativo Sicredi S.A. 

Gescooperativo Renta Fija High Yield Estandar

Total points: 241

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 100

% of time rated since eligible: 85

 

Silvia Franco Ballesteros is based in Madrid where she is the responsible for bond funds at Gescooperativo SGIIC. She has been with the firm since 2007.

Prior to this she was at Banco Cooperativo. She graduated from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid with a degree in economics.

30. Ann Gallo 

Wellington Management 

Hartford Healthcare

Total points: 240

Eligibility for rating in the past five years (%): 98

% of time rated since eligible: 95

 

As an analyst in global industry research, Ann Gallo specialises in the healthcare services industry and conducts fundamental analysis on the companies within her industry. She is a member of Wellington Management’s healthcare team, which manages health and biotechnology sector mutual funds and hedge funds.

Prior to joining Wellington Management in 1998, Gallo was a healthcare analyst with BT. She previously worked as an investment banker and, subsequently, a healthcare analyst at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis.