Hedge funds are suffering from a 'sameness' that's hurting performance

The hedge fund industry has a well-documented performance problem.

And it’s directly connected to a lack of diversity in the industry, according to Doug Haynes, president of Steve Cohen’s investment firm, Point72 Asset Management.

“Our lack of performance,” Haynes said, “is related to sameness.”

Hedge funders are “viewing the world the same way” with investment ideas duplicated more than ever, he added, speaking at a Manhattan event on Tuesday hosted by 100 Women in Hedge Funds.

In other words, hedge funds are suffering from group-think.

“It’s not just [that the potential hire] has the same colour and same gender. It’s that they went to the same schools, studied the same thing, played the same sports,” he said. “It’s very easy to hire that person and feel safe. Our industry has fallen into that trap.”

Seven per cent of Point72’s investment staffers are women, which is a laughably low figure until you realise that Point72 is actually a rare leader. Across the industry, women hold fewer than 2% of investment management positions, according to some estimates. Blacks and Latinos are also similarly under-represented in the industry.

It’s not to say there aren’t changes underway. Seema Hingorani, the former CIO of the New York City Pension Funds, started Girls Who Invest, a non-profit that trains college women and helps them get Wall Street internships. Lucus Advisors, a Manhattan hedge fund started by Citadel and Third Point alums, recruits at historically black colleges.

Point72 runs a training program for college students, and although it hasn’t focused on recruiting minorities that is something the firm plans to work on, Haynes later told Business Insider.

“We’re at the first mile of a marathon,” he said.

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