Women in pension funds: A small but talented pool
Lockwood Gibb's Sarah Dudney struggles to match Ernst & Young's top 50 women in hedge funds.
A recent report by Ernst & Young on women in hedge funds declared that 50 leading women have responsibility for more than $200bn (€140bn), or 10% of industry assets. This, apparently, is meant to offer women some scope for optimism.
It prompted me to consider whether I could produce an equivalent list for the European pensions fund arena. Unfortunately, it was not quite the straightforward exercise I originally imagined it would be. I reached 10 in the UK in a matter of minutes, but it would be hard to get to 50. Who can suggest others I may have missed?
The list of 10 is divided into senior pensions money managers/CIOs, including Michelle McGregor-Smith at BA Pension Fund and Elizabeth Fernando at the University Superannuation Scheme, as well as Judy Saunders at West Midlands Pension Fund and senior industry spokeswomen such as Joanne Segars at the National Association of Pension Funds and Ros Altmann at Saga.
So, we have campaigners and leaders/money managers. No female actuaries - no surprise there. It did make sense that the list was stronger in money managers, as that matches the wider investment universe. Working within a pension fund can offer a great seam of technical and career opportunities without the constant tinnitus of corporate 'noise'. But somehow I cannot match Ernst & Young and its 50 in hedge funds.
My suggested list (in no particular order):
Michelle McGregor-Smith BA Pension Fund
Joanne Segars, NAPF
Nicola Ralston, PiRho
Sally Bridgeland, BP Pension Trustees
Elizabeth Fernando, USS
Catherine Howarth, FairPensions
Ros Altmann, pensions expert/spokeswoman for Saga
Kayte Alexander, BA Pension Fund
Wendy Mayall, Unilever Pension Fund
Judy Saunders, West Midlands Pension Fund
Sarah Dudney is a partner at Lockwood Gibb & Associates