A new study from the IFC, Oliver Wyman, and Rock Creek investment management explores the link between financial returns and gender diversity; the lack of women in the industry; and steps needed to achieve gender balance. One of the key findings of the report is that private equity and venture capital funds with gender-balanced senior investment teams generated 10 percent to 20 percent higher returns compared with funds that have a majority of male or female leaders.
The report asks:
• How gender balanced are leadership teams of General Partners, which allocate capital, and of portfolio companies, which receive investments?
• Are there benefits of moving leadership teams toward gender balance within General Partners and portfolio companies?
• What can General Partners do to move toward gender balance in their leadership teams and those of the portfolio companies they invest in?
Key findings include:
- Only 15 percent of senior investment teams are gender balanced and nearly 70 percent are all male. As such, most investment and capital allocation decisions are being made by teams that are male dominated and likely not reaping the potential benefits afforded to gender balanced teams, most likely including enhanced investment decision making and deal sourcing.
- Seven percent of private equity and venture capital is invested in female-led businesses. The median female-led business has received only 65 percent of the funding received by the median male-led business. This gap is largely explained by the fact that more female-led businesses receive more funding in early stages (e.g., accelerator or incubator) where the investment sizes are smaller than later stages (e.g., later stage VC, growth equity, and buyout) where the investment sizes are larger. This skew in part may be because female-led businesses are slightly less likely to receive second round funding than male-led businesses (13 percent compared with 17 percent, respectively). It also may be explained by greater frequency with which female leaders receiving initial rounds of funding appear to be replaced by male leaders in subsequent rounds
- The report draws on gender diversity and performance data from more than 700 funds and 500 portfolio companies; survey results from over 500 fund managers and institutional investors; interviews with more than 50 investors and gender diversity experts; and case studies of more than 10 private equity and venture capital funds and institutional investors that are addressing the gender-imbalance in their own work. The report also gathers recommendations for fund managers and institutional investors to help move the industry towards gender balance.