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Alts still a tough place for women — survey

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The alternative investment management business still is a tough place for women: 63% of a poll of 366 female senior executives said their gender makes it more difficult for them to succeed.

The women were surveyed in September and October about their work lives in hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, commodity trading adviser and other alternative investment firms by financial services provider Rothstein Kass, New York.

Nearly half — 47.6% — of respondents said the main reason for low participation by women in the alternatives industry was “a lack of existing positions for women in the industry where they can build a track record.” About 45% of survey respondents said a “lack of desire” was the second most important reason for low female involvement in this part of the money management industry, according to Rothstein Kass' second annual “Women in Alternative Investments” report.

While women are fairly well represented in the executive ranks in the areas of operations, compliance and finance at 35%, 34% and 32%, respectively, the percentage in leadership roles drops sharply when it comes to other positions. For example, only 16% of the companies represented by RK's universe had female CEOs and only 18% had women as chief investment officers and portfolio managers.

This article originally appeared in the January 21, 2013 print issue as, "Alts still a tough place for women — survey".