The surprising profile of the perfect hedge fund manager

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What does a talented hedge fund manager look like? Is it a 28 year-old man with a bank of computer screens and a thing for protein shakes? Is it a 59 year-old man who became attached to a pet pig? Is it a 42 year-old who retired aged 41 and made a comeback one year later? No. No. And no. On average, it's a woman.

So said research released last year from Kyria Capital Management, a (possibly biased) organisation whose stated aim is to help women in alternative investment. After analyzing performance over a five year basis, it found that 40% of women-run hedge funds achieved returns in the top 5% to 25% of funds, compared to just 20% of male-run funds. Female-run funds were also significantly more likely to be in the top 5% of performers, as shown by the chart below.

Source: Kyria Capital 

Where, then, are are all the women in hedge funds?  There certainly aren't many women running hedge funds (Kyria counted only 32). Nor are there many women working for hedge funds. We looked at the number of registered employees at seven leading UK hedge funds. As the chart below shows, women were few and far between. One hedge fund (Oxford Asset Management) had no registered women at all.

Percentage of registered employees who are women at top UK hedge funds:

Who are these top female hedge fund managers in Mayfair? We've profiled them below, along with the up-and-coming hedge women in London. Interestingly, several of them didn't graduate in finance-related subjects.

It's also worth noting, however, that plenty of the women registered as working in London hedge funds aren't actually in portfolio management jobs per se.

At Odey, for example, Melanie Tillotson is in compliance, while at Cheyne Capital Sandrine Whittman is senior counsel, Nicole von Westenholz works in investor relations, Eva Siekierski is a former head of investor relations turned head of business development for North America, and Sharon Saunders is financial controller. At Brevan Howard, Miriam Porat is head of risk and Andrea French is COO. At Marathon Asset Management, Kim Lau is CFO. At Tudor Capital, Louise Zarrilli is head of investor relations. These jobs are important, but they're not portfolio management roles - which is strange, given women's innate strength in this area.

Seven profiles of (female) hedge fund managers (and up-and-coming hedge fund managers) in the UK:

1.Cynthia Muller, partner at Cheyne Capital 

Muller joined Cheyne Capital as a partner in April 2014. She previously spent 16 years at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, latterly as an MD, and 15 years at J.P. Morgan. Muller is a graduate of Cornell University.

2. Sarah Illingworth, analyst, Tudor Investment Corporation 

Illingworth is an analyst at Tudor in London. She joined in 2013 from UBS, where she worked in prime services and fixed income exchange traded debt. Illingworth graduated with a first class degree in economics from Cambridge University in 2010, and is a CFA Charterholder.

3. Azadeh Kasraei, assistant portfolio manager, Brevan Howard 

Like Illingworth, Kasraei is one of the up-and-coming women in hedge funds. She joined Brevan from Citadel in June 2014 having previously worked in FX sales at BNP Paribas and FX prime brokerage at J.P. Morgan. She graduated with a 2.1 in Business Management from Queen Mary College in London in 2001.

4. Leila Kardouche, portfolio manager, Pelham Capital 

Kardouche is a seasoned member of the London hedge fund circuit. A graduate in the history of art and languages from Bristol University in 1995, she started her career at Schroders before moving to RAB Capital, Och Ziff and Visium Asset Management. She joined Pelham in September 2015.

5. Camilla Tamworth, investment analyst, Odey Asset Management 

An Oxford University graduate, Tamworth has spent the past fourteen years working in asset management. After starting her career in long only funds (Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Architas Multi-Manager) she moved to Odey in 2011.

6. Angela Gu, equity research analyst, Odey Asset Management

Gu covers insurance stocks as an equity research analyst at Odey. She joined in May 2014 from UBS, where she spent nearly three years covering the insurance sector.

7. Candida Lahaise, investment director, Odey Asset Management 

Another Oxford University graduate (in theology and philosophy), Lahaise is investment director at Odey. She joined in 2012 and previously spent four years as an investment manager at HSBC and three years in investor relations for Vision Investment Management. Her precise function as investment director is not clear...

Photo credit: Target Dog! by Charles Rodstrom is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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