Comment: Women in Hedge Funds

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An (anonymous female) contributor explains to our London correspondent why there aren't more women in hedge funds.

I don't have a finance background - I grew up in the country and started out as a trader bidding grain before moving into financial arbitrage. From there I went to Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns as a prop trader before setting up with a colleague in 1998. It was incredibly difficult to get people to put money into that fund. There are plenty of women in the hedge fund industry, but very few who are trading - really taking risks.

I now run a fund of funds as well as an agricultural fund. As a woman, it's hard to raise money for that too. I think it's something buried deep in the subconscious. There's something that prevents people from being totally comfortable about signing their money over to a woman. There are a lot of negatives that are applied. With a man, for example, you might dismiss something as a bad day. With a woman it's seen as a sign of instability. Women aren't seen as risk takers. Somewhere buried deep in the psychology is the notion that people don't trust us with their cash.

From my own perspective, I don't want to be seen as a "woman" in hedge funds. I just want to be seen as a good manager.

My advice to women starting out in hedge funds is: Don't take it personally if our culture still has some difficulties. There are plenty of successful and very beautiful women in sales, but if you want to be a trader, don't take it personally. Any prejudice is not aimed at you directly. Maintain your integrity and excel on your own merits.

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