To celebrate International Women's Day, Jayna Rana takes a look at the best-performing female investment trust managers over the past five years
As is the case with the wider financial industry, women are largely underrepresented in the closed-ended universe.
Out of 340 trusts (ex VCTs) in the Association of Investment Companies, just 45 have female investment managers named on their teams, with many only being added in recent years and often as a deputy or co-manager.
However, the following seven managers have outperformed their peer groups over the last five years to 25 February, marking their place as leading ladies in the sector.
Investment Week used trusts' return figures from FE based on the performance of all funds, both open and closed-ended, that the manager has run during the last five years.
The peer group average was also calculated combining the sectors where the respective funds sit.
In the UK space, SVM Asset Management's Margaret Lawson has returned 60% over the last five years as manager of the open-ended SVM UK Growth fund and SVM UK Emerging investment trust, compared to a return of 43% for her combined peer group average.
Commenting on the trust, which she has been lead manager of since 2012, Lawson said the closed-ended structure suits her investing style.
"The structure allows flexibility and gives time to demonstrate the difference you can make as a manager," she said.
"There is longer term pressure to perform, but I feel the closed-end structure reduces some of the short-term stress when markets sell off."
Meanwhile, another UK equities veteran Sue Noffke has managed the £190m Schroder Income Growth fund since July 2011, which has outperformed its AIC UK Equity Income and FTSE All-Share average since then.
She said: "I have been managing the trust for almost eight years and, over that period, it has done exactly what it says on the tin for our investors. Its dividend has risen every year, while also outpacing the rate of inflation."
Over the past five years, as manager of the trust and also the Schroder Prime UK Equity OEIC, Noffke has returned 27% against a combined peer group average return of 23%.
UK and Europe small- and mid-cap specialist Georgina Brittain joined J. P. Morgan Asset Management in 1995 and today runs five funds in the space, two of which are investment trusts.
She has delivered a positive return of 36% over the last five years based on the performance of all her strategies including the £208 JPM UK Smaller Companies and £281m JP Morgan Mid Cap IT, versus a combined peer group average return of 33%.
"My entire investment career has been spent focusing on UK mid- and smaller-sized companies, and I would not have it any other way," she said. "There are any number of clichés to describe why these can provide more exciting investment opportunities than their larger peers - the possibility of identifying the big companies of tomorrow, as well as niche world-class growth companies.
"Clichés they may be, but they are based upon the truth."