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Fewer Women Are Managing Funds in the U.S.

Gender parity in the sector hasn't improved much since 2008.

Four out of five funds globally operate without any women managers, according to a report released this week by Morningstar Inc.

Gender parity has not improved much since 2008, and in some countries — including the U.S. — it has gotten worse, according to the study of 26,340 mutual fund and ETF managers in 56 countries conducted by Morningstar. In the U.S., 9.7 percent of fund managers were women at the end of 2015, down from 11.4 percent prior to the financial crisis. In comparison, women make up 36 percent of lawyers and 33 percent of doctors in the country, according to the report.

"There is a lot of opportunity for improvement. We think that diversity is in the industry's best interest," Laura Pavlenko Lutton, head of North America research at Morningstar, said in an interview.

Of the countries studied, Singapore and Portugal had some of the highest percentages of women fund managers at 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively. India and Poland were at the other end of the spectrum, the report shows. No country in the study got anywhere close to 50 percent, or gender parity.

Women are more likely to manage passive funds than active funds, and they're more likely to oversee fund of funds as opposed to funds that buy and sell individual securities, Morningstar said. Female fund managers are also more likely to share management responsibilities with other staffers, as opposed to managing the funds by themselves.

"Investors should be open to different approaches," said Lutton. "And if that includes a more diverse management team, then I think it is worth a try."

This interactive StoryChart originally ran in Bloomberg Brief: Sustainable Finance.

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