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Women make up 50% of the world’s population1, earn more than $20 trillion every year globally2, and control over one-third of total household wealth3. Yet a gender gap continues to exist, especially with respect to finances. Last year, we explored how COVID-19 affected the gender gap, particularly in the labor market, as well as COVID-19’s impact on women entrepreneurs. This year, we focus on the gender gap in asset management and offer considerations for investing in diversity in the investment industry.


Diversity in Women in Investing

Diversification is a core concept in asset management. By allocating across different asset classes and managers, investors seek to reduce market volatility and improve risk-adjusted returns. But diversification can also apply to teams managing money and allocating assets, and we believe that diversifying with women can have a multiplying effect that can potentially improve returns, attract more women to the industry, and contribute to the leadership pipeline.


Currently, women’s representation in the asset management industry lags behind the rest of financial services4. That’s a concern because we believe diverse teams lead to better outcomes. More perspectives and differentiated backgrounds can drive higher-quality decision making, improved deal sourcing, and better ability to attract and retain talent, boosting business longevity and investment performance. In our own practices and the practices of our peers in the investment industry, we think a deliberate effort to improve representation of women in investing is imperative. Goldman Sachs Asset Management is dedicated to playing an active role in closing the gender gap within asset management. 


March of Women

Public Markets

US public markets, both equity and fixed income, are among the largest in the world at $52 trillion and $46 trillion, respectively5. Public market investors have the potential to influence a significant amount of capital. Unfortunately, in 2020 just 11% of public fund managers in the US were women—a percentage that has remained roughly constant over the last decade according to Morningstar6. And despite increased focus in recent years, even mixed-gender teams are still in the minority today. Diverse investment teams represented 28% of funds and nearly 40% of assets under management in 2020. By comparison, all-men teams accounted for 70% of funds and nearly 60% of assets while all-women teams represented less than 2% of teams and less than 1% of assets. The status quo suggests that without intentional practices to address structural barriers or implicit biases, the industry will continue to skew toward men.

Exhibit 1: Women Underrepresented in Fund Management

Source: Morningstar and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. As of December 2020. For illustrative purposes only.  

Alternatives Investors

According to Preqin data, women represented just over 20% of employees working in alternative assets in 2020. And there is significant fall-off of women in alternatives as careers progress, with women accounting for 12% of senior roles compared to 24% at the mid-level and 32% in junior positions. Research by McKinsey suggests that attrition itself is not to blame – women leave roles at roughly the same rates as men. However, women are promoted at lower rates than men7.

Exhibit 2: Women Underrepresented in Alternatives Asset Management

Source: Preqin Pro and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. As of December 2020. For illustrative purposes only.

Diversity Through Asset Allocators

Diversity has also become top of mind for asset allocators, though progress has been more localized at the plan sponsor or institutional level. Moving the needle on diversity typically comes through two approaches: manager diversity and allocation diversity. For asset allocators, the former addresses diversity within the workplace while the latter focuses on promoting diversity through investments. So far, data remains scarce on both ends. We believe inclusive representation starts with having good data. Efforts to normalize diversity reporting similar to financial reporting may drive transparency and create opportunities for women, diverse, and emerging managers.


  • Public Plans: Only 26 of the 195 listed public defined benefit plans have declared an explicit policy encouraging the hiring of women, minority, disabled or veteran investment professionals. On allocation diversity, only 11 plan sponsors publically reported the amount of assets invested with diverse managers as of February 20218.
  • Investment Consultants: According to a 2020 Annual Investment Consultant Survey, on average, 23% of firm owners are women, while 39% of women hold senior management positions. While the majority of surveyed consultants have diverse manager programs in place, less than a third have explicit rules requiring a qualified diverse-owned firm to be interviewed for asset manager openings9.
  • Endowments and Foundations: According to the 2021 National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)-TIAA annual survey, only 6%, or approximately 42 of the 705 US institutions in the study, acknowledged a formal policy addressing diversity, and none of the 104 institutions with endowments greater than $1 billion or more answered yes to the question10.
  • Financial Advisors: While women represent just over 50% of the US population, only 18% of financial advisors were women in 2021, a mere 2.4 percentage-point increase from 201511. Only 11 of the Barron’s top 100 financial advisors were women and only 16% of top 100 registered investment advisors (RIA) firms’ executives were women in 202112.

Considerations for Asset Management: ACT NOW

The gender gap in asset management is a result of decades of structural and cultural issues. Influential stakeholders including asset managers and allocators, as well as senior leadership and human resource departments should be at the forefront of improving diversity starting today. We think the asset management industry should ACT NOW:


  • Adopt a written diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy seeking to build accountability
  • Cultivate supportive culture with strong apprenticeship, allyship, and sponsorship
  • Tap into differentiated recruiting pools, then train, retain, and promote diverse talent
  • Normalize diversity reporting standards and commit to regular reporting in industry databases
  • Outline diversity criteria in investing, and set medium and long-term target goals
  • Work with external organizations to help eliminate familiarity barriers and review progress toward diversity goals

Start the Conversation

Contact our team to learn more about Goldman Sachs Asset Management can help.

Related Resources
  • GSAM Connect

    Women in the Workplace: Why It Matters

    May 14, 2021

    Female workforce participation rates in the developed world have increased in recent decades, particularly in Europe. That’s good news, in our view, for society, and corporate profitability. But when it comes to women in senior management roles and closing the pay gap, there’s plenty of work to do, particularly in the financial services industry

    Read More

1  World Bank, as of February 28, 2022.

2 Frost and Sullivan, as of March 5, 2020:

3. Boston Consulting Group, as of April 9, 2020.

4 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2021.

5 SIFMA, as of February 2022.

6 Morningstar, as of March 16, 2021.

7 McKinsey, as of September 6, 2018.

8 Pensions & Investments, as of February 8, 2021.

9 Diverse Asset Managers Initiative, as of December 10, 2020.

10 NABUBO-TIAA, "Study of Endowments," 2021. As of FY 2020.

11 Cerulli Associates, “U.S. Advisor Metrics 2020.”

12 Barrons, 2021 Top 100 US Financial Advisors and Top 100 RIA Firms.



Active fund manager refers to one that makes active decisions to deviate from the index.

Asset allocator refers to an investment professional responsible for managing assets across a portfolio.

Cross-asset investing refers to an investing strategy that achieves higher diversification by featuring more than one asset class in a portfolio or fund

Diversification refers to allocating capital in a way that seeks to reduce exposure to any one asset or risk.

Investment management fees refer to the cost of having an investment fund professional manager by an investment manager. In a multi-manager fund, management fees are typically paid at two levels - to the underlying fund manager and to the fund-of-fund manager.

Passive fund manager refers to one that tracks an index.

Risk Considerations

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Equity securities are more volatile than bonds and subject to greater risks.

Investments in fixed income securities are subject to the risks associated with debt securities including credit and interest rate risk. 

Alternative investments are suitable only for sophisticated investors for whom such investments do not constitute a complete investment program and who fully understand and are willing to assume the risks involved in Alternative Investments. Alternative Investments by their nature, involve a substantial degree of risk, including the risk of total loss of an investor’s capital.

The above are not an exhaustive list of potential risks. There may be additional risks that should be considered before any investment decision.

General Disclosures

This material is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities. This material is not intended to be used as a general guide to investing, or as a source of any specific investment recommendations, and makes no implied or express recommendations concerning the manner in which any client’s account should or would be handled, as appropriate investment strategies depend upon the client’s investment objectives.


Prospective investors should inform themselves as to any applicable legal requirements and taxation and exchange control regulations in the countries of their citizenship, residence or domicile which might be relevant.

Although certain information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness. We have relied upon and assumed without independent verification, the accuracy and completeness of all information available from public sources.

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Views and opinions expressed are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation by GSAM to buy, sell, or hold any security. Views and opinions are current as of the date of this presentation and may be subject to change, they should not be construed as investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee future results, which may vary. The value of investments and the income derived from investments will fluctuate and can go down as well as up. A loss of principal may occur.

Economic and market forecasts presented herein reflect a series of assumptions and judgments as of the date of this document and are subject to change without notice. These forecasts do not take into account the specific investment objectives, restrictions, tax and financial situation or other needs of any specific client. Actual data will vary and may not be reflected here. These forecasts are subject to high levels of uncertainty that may affect actual performance. Accordingly, these forecasts should be viewed as merely representative of a broad range of possible outcomes. These forecasts are estimated, based on assumptions, and are subject to significant revision and may change materially as economic and market conditions change. Goldman Sachs has no obligation to provide updates or changes to these forecasts. Case studies and examples are for illustrative purposes only.

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