POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2010
Female hedge fund managers enjoyed nearly double the returns of their male counterparts during the past 10 years, according to Hedge Fund Research. The National Association of Investors Corp. likewise reported that investment clubs comprising only women saw an annual return of 32.12 percent compared to a 23.2 percent average return for all-male clubs and 27.4 percent for mixed-gender groups.
Muhammad Yanus won the Nobel Peace Prize based on his large-scale success in providing microloans to the impoverished population of Bangladesh. He saw the wisdom of the feminine at the other end of the wealth spectrum. Nearly all — 96 percent --of 4 million borrowers from his Grameen Bank are women. He comments: "When a destitute mother starts earning an income, her dreams of success invariably center around her children. A woman's second priority is the household. She wants to buy utensils, build a stronger roof, or find a bed for herself and her family. A man has an entirely different set of priorities. When a destitute father earns extra income, he focuses more attention on himself. Thus money entering a household through a woman brings more benefits to the family as a whole."
Similarly, women in the developed world tend to approach investment with a long-term view and an eye on capital preservation, security and retirement. Women are more apt to diversify, seek out quality and maintain strategic discipline. Men, on the other hand, generally prefer equities, focus directly on returns and react more readily to hot tips.
Are we stuck in these roles? Remember feminine and masculine tendencies are not strictly driven by gender. Every male and every female is born with a unique mix of these two qualities. Throughout life, we are conditioned by our environment. In most cases, men are taught to be masculine and women are taught to be feminine, but this is not a given. We all have the choice to tap into either resource. Successful people usually have the ability to readily tap into either side at will and have mastered the knack of inner and outer teamwork.
The ancient yin yang symbol depicts two adjacent teardrops drawn inside a circle. One teardrop represents the feminine, the other, the masculine. There is also a dot of yin in the center of the yang element and a dot of yang inside yin.
As conception of an embryo needs both female and male working in concert, so does a good partnership. The truth is that a balanced portfolio — one that evolves with your needs over time — must consider long-term goals together with current market conditions. One must maintain strategic discipline and have the capacity to make adjustments when indicated.
In modern society, men have had much more control in financial markets. Considering the madness that led to the recent economic crises, one wonders if the financial world and the world in general wouldn't be better off if the wisdom of the feminine had a stronger voice. I recall poking my head into a San Francisco Chronicle one foggy morning after a rougher than usual redeye. The editorial argued that the only people who should be allowed to run for public office are postmenopausal women — experienced, wise, measured and possessing the ability to balance. Why not?
Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA, is medical director of Manakai O Malama Integrative Healthcare Group and Rehabilitation Center and CEO of Global Advisory Services Inc. Please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org