Following on from last month’s rundown of the top 20 women portfolio managers in the world, we’ve turned closer to home to look at the best in the US.
We’ve looked at those women who have delivered the highest levels of return relative to the risks they have exposed investors to over the past three years. Not only that, but they must also be in the top quartile of their respective sectors over that time on a total return basis. The list below brings together a diverse group of investment strategies run in locations throughout the US.
The standout name is Jean Hynes. In fifth place, she is responsible for running more money than any other woman on the planet. With close to $50 billion of assets under management in mutual funds alone, she is part of an elite group of star portfolio managers.
Rather than trumpet her investment views, the pharmaceuticals specialist has quietly gone about her business at Wellington Asset Management. Such is Hynes’ quality in this area, she has been drafted by Vanguard and Hartford to manage their assets in this space.
Pharmaceuticals and healthcare are firmly back on the agenda, in light of the election result, however the manager was fairly relaxed about the impact that a Trump presidency will have on both Obamacare and drug prices. Speaking days before the result she told Citywire: ‘We do not believe the Affordable Care Act will be dismantled, nor that we will see meaningful structural change in how drug prices are set in the US.’
Clemson takes top spot
Topping the list is Boston-based Cynthia Clemson, manager of municipal bonds for Eaton Vance. Municipals have been in a sweet spot over the past five years and are well represented at the top of the list, with Clemson being joined by Nancy G Angell (GW&K Investment Management) and Catherine Stienstra (Columbia Threadneedle Investments) inside the top five. Clemson’s focus on the higher yielding part of the municipal bond market has been the source of much of her outperformance.
Outside of the top five, the split between broad asset classes is fairly even. Nine of the top 20 run bond portfolios and 10 are responsible for equity funds. There are even four managers who make the cut from the all-important and notoriously tough domestic US equity market. No area in global investment has had more of a transition from active mutual funds to passive funds, and as such, anyone adding significant value deserves respect.
However, ClearBridge’s Margaret Vitrano is the only one to manage the prized large-cap equities. Her outperformance has in part been achieved by holding a significant overweight to the healthcare sector – 20% of the fund.
Best of the rest
The rest of the US equity managers run funds in the small- and mid-cap sectors, where outperformance is easier. They are Nuveen’s Karen Bowie, Schroder’s Jenny Jones and Elizabeth Jones of Buffalo Mutual Funds. With many commentators backing the domestically focused companies found within the small- and mid-cap index to prosper under the new administration, the good times might only just be beginning for this trio.
Elsewhere, in emerging markets, three managers make the cut. They are Elena Tedesco (Hermes), Patricia Ribeiro (American Century) and Maria Negrete-Gruson (Artisan Partners). Over the second half of the year the most popular trade for investment has undoubtedly been into emerging markets. However, unlike the smaller companies, this is an area that could fare badly against a backdrop of the President-elect Donald Trump’s more protectionist stance on global trade.
Top 20 women portfolio managers in the US
Performance as at October 31 2016. Source: Citywire Discovery.