The Performance of Female Hedge Fund Managers

38 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2016

See all articles by Rajesh K. Aggarwal

Rajesh K. Aggarwal

Northeastern University

Nicole M. Boyson

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Date Written: August 29, 2015


Using data for the period 1994-2013, we examine the return and risk-taking behavior of hedge funds having at least one female portfolio manager and funds that have all female portfolio managers. Funds with all female managers perform no differently than all male-managed funds and have similar risk profiles. For single style funds, those with mixed teams of both genders underperform male-only funds on both a raw and risk-adjusted basis, although mixed funds incur less risk and their Sharpe ratios do not differ. For funds of funds, both all-female and mixed funds have similar performance to male-managed funds. We then consider the failure rate across all fund styles. Funds with at least one female manager fail at higher rates, driven by difficulty in raising capital – these funds are smaller and are less likely to be closed to new investment. Surviving funds with at least one female manager have better performance than male-managed surviving funds, consistent with the idea that female managers need to perform better for their funds to survive. Yet, female-managed surviving funds have fewer assets under management than surviving male-managed funds. Using media mentions as a proxy for investor interest, female-managed funds receive proportionately less attention. Our results suggest that there are no inherent differences in skill between female and male managers, but that only the best performing female managers manage to survive.

Keywords: hedge funds, gender, performance

Suggested Citation

Aggarwal, Rajesh K. and Boyson, Nicole M., The Performance of Female Hedge Fund Managers (August 29, 2015). Review of Financial Economics, Forthcoming, Northeastern U. D’Amore-McKim School of Business Research Paper No. 2726584, Available at SSRN:

Rajesh K. Aggarwal (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

413 Hayden Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Nicole M. Boyson

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
617-373-4775 (Phone)

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