In "My Fair Lady," Prof. Henry Higgins famously turns to song to ask, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"
Using its vast troves of data, Morningstar Inc. has answered that question — at least as far as fund manager performance is concerned — by finding that female managers are virtually identical to male managers.
After looking at the performance of actively managed U.S.-based equity and fixed-income funds, and the individuals managing them since 2003, Morningstar found no significant performance difference between funds run by men and those run by women. Neither did it find differences in performance for funds run by mixed-gender teams.
Morningstar said the latest paper, "Fund Managers by Gender: Through the Performance Lens," expanded on its earlier research on the gender of fund managers, which found that male fund managers outnumber female managers by a ratio of 9 to 1 in the United States.
"If women fund managers have delivered worse returns than men, their exclusion from the industry would be understandable," Morningstar said, "but we find that performance does not explain the lack of diversity in the fund industry."
In short, diversity comes with no downside for fund investors, the report concluded.