Aiming to boost opportunities for women in a field long dominated by men, the Hedge Fund Association is offering six months of free membership to women hedge fund professionals. The offer comes as the group adds three new women leaders in top executive positions.
In an effort to diversify both its organization and its industry, the Hedge Fund Association is offering complimentary membership to women hedge fund professionals for six months. The offer is tied to a recent announcement [PDF] that HFA added three women to leadership positions in the organization.
More diverse membership leads to greater diversity of ideas, and a greater diversity of ideas makes for a richer and more complete experience overall.
“The goal is to increase involvement of women in the marketplace,” said Ron Geffner, the association’s vice president. “We prefer to see more involvement by a broader demographic, and we’d like to support the better half.”
Geffner said the association is also organizing committees that will work to expand its membership to include more women hedge fund managers, investors, and industry service providers. Of the three newly appointed leaders, one will serve on HFA’s board of directors, one on its regulatory and government advisory board, and one as the association’s regional chapter director in the United Kingdom.
In its announcement, HFA paid tribute to the groundbreaking efforts of other organizations in the hedge fund industry that helped pave the way for its own new inclusion initiatives.
“The HFA applauds the leading nonprofit organizations for women in our industry, 100 Women in Hedge Funds and High Water Women,” said HFA President Mitch Ackles. “These organizations have done a great deal to empower women through education, advocacy, and philanthropy. We are very proud to be able to complement their efforts by expanding female leadership roles in the HFA.”
A December 2013 study of women investment managers found that while women have been entering the alternative investment industry at a slow but steady pace, they are still underrepresented. Almost 50 percent of respondents attributed this to a lack of existing industry positions for women in which they could build a track record. Other top reasons given were that fewer women want to enter into the alternative investment industry, and, historically, women have had less access to capital than their male counterparts.
HFA hopes its efforts at recruiting more women members will help enhance the membership experience for both men and women.
“More diverse membership leads to greater diversity of ideas, and a greater diversity of ideas makes for a richer and more complete experience overall,” Geffner said. “It’s equivalent of a democracy.”