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Endowments led by women outperform those led by men

Among the 100 largest endowment plans, those managed by a female CEO, CIO or president have on average outperformed those managed by men or OCIOs over the trailing one- and five-year periods.* The data, however, published by Charles Skorina & Co., show that only 18% of the observed plans were led by women and accounted for about 10% of total assets. The average endowment size for a female-led plan was $2.5 billion, while the average plan size with male leadership was about $5.5 billion.

In its research, the firm showed that the gap between men and women among the ranks of endowment leadership is widening. Since 2013, nine women have been replaced by men among endowments with more than $500 million in assets, while only one man has been replaced by a woman. In three cases, a female CIO was replaced by another woman.

Concerning the shortfall of women CIOs at endowments, the firm said one possible explanation could be credentials. It noted that 18% of all CFA charter holders and about 36% of students earning MBAs in recent years were women. Such credentials are typically held by successful CIO applicants, it noted. However, the firm also noted the large number of women in the investment management industry holding director-level positions.