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Women And Trading

I have been pondering this article by LB and the wider notion that according to a few peanuts some forms of knowledge might be sex linked. Even this blog has not been immune from sexism. My note on the first women to win a Fields Medal attracted the usual dickhead comment from a reader. Working with a women is also interesting, there has been more than one occasion of the past two decades when I have had to tell someone they were close to going out a window without their consent.

I was reflecting on the wider issue of women in trading as if somehow having a vagina excluded you from being able to do this as a task. I have had time over the past decade or so of being involved in the mentor program to conduct a modest observational study of women in trading. I will talk about performance later but one point struck me as almost a universal constant. Males who undertake the mentor program get almost universal support from their female partners. There is the occasional exception but it is rare. Women who undertake the course get either qualified, limited or no support from their partners and it is the no support group that interests me. Males who fall into what I would call the angry inch brigade have always intrigued me. That is those men who couldn’t support their partner because they are frightened that they might never get an erection ever again if their women were successful. Although my guess is that this wouldn’t be that much of a waste because I cannot imagine that it was that impressive to start with.

This dichotomy in support disturbs me as it smacks of a desire to maintain a profound imbalance in a relationship. It seems as if these idiots are more attuned to a parent/child style of marriage rather than a partner/partner relationship. However, I have often wondered about who the child might be in the relationship. Watching friends of mine who are married it is not hard to work out. Irrespective of the rationale for the lack of support it is still indicative of a profoundly small-minded attitude that needs adjusting (probably with a large stick). My blunt prescription for this problem is that most of the women who have been through the program would be better off  without the partner they have. This in itself is a sad indictment of the quality of some of the holders of XY chromosomes.

The second point from my observational study has been that women tend to be unencumbered by notions of testosterone. Once during every program we get a fucken idiot and that idiot is always a male. It has never been a female. The dickhead gene is strong in many. The other point that has been hammered home is the notion of performance. As a population female traders tend to do better than men. This observation simply confirms the work of others most notably Terrance Odean who found that –

Men trade more than women and thereby reduce their returns more so than women. Furthermore, these are most pronounced between single men and single women. 

The same observation has been found to be true within the field of professional money managers. The Rothstein Kass Institute found that –

Women hedge fund managers performed ahead of the industry through 3Q 2012. The Rothstein Kass Women in Alternative Investments Hedge Index produced a year-to-date net return of 8.95 percent, in comparison to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, which generated a 2.69 percent net return through September.

I will cede the point that this is a short-term sample but it should be noted that the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index is composed of mostly male investors since blokes run the majority of hedge funds.

Intriguingly, companies that have a larger percentage of women on their boards seem to generate a greater return on shareholders funds.  Over the course of five years, companies with women on their boards had average returns on equity of 15.3 percent, while those of companies without any female board members were 10.5 percent.

So what does this all mean. It means simply as the Buddhist are apt to say – don’t be a dickhead. I know that such a request is obscenely hard for many but trust me your life will be much easier if you don’t give into your tendency to be a dick and for women married to peanuts – get rid of them. life and trading is hard enough without an anchor.




  1. This quote sums up the problem for me:
    “As Burson Marsteller’s Marius Parmann rightly notes, it is reasonable to assume that talent is equally distributed across the groups of men and women. When 90% of the positions are filled from only 50% of the pool, Parmann reminds us, we get an “incorrect use of resources” and inevitably lose value.” Here they are commenting on the lack of women in controlling leadership positions of corporations, CEO, CFO and Head of Board..
    I understood this to mean dumb men end up in positions that should be held by smart women.

  2. Well said Chris, how quickly these ‘dickheads’ (I have a stronger yet not for public viewing term for them) forget where they started from…its not a case of woman should be seen as equals in this day and age, they have always been equals, some ignorant types didn’t choice to acknowledge it.

    oh and ps. my residence is always open to any of the chauvinist, tough guys that disagree and are somewhat upset by my comments, please feel free to come and discuss it with me….just be sure to have all your personal affairs in order especially your medical insurance!

    • Peter Lumley says:

      Excellent Essay Chris. I give you full marks for that! You have a wonderful eloquent way of putting things; I wish I had your gift. Yes, there are lots of D/heads out there! particularly in management in the industries that I have worked in over the years.
      Oh and PS: I love your comment, Joe :)

  3. This brought a huge smile to my face. All so true.(Male, 63 years on this earth.) Well said Chris.

  4. Well said Chris.
    It shits me that some people (mainly males in my experience) need to push others down in order to prep themselves up. Particularly so when this is at the expense of their life-long partner.

  5. And this is why I choose to hang out with males who are big thinkers. I feel very lucky to have some incredibly supportive men around me, as well as role models that only want the best for me.

    I’m interested to hear how much of a chord this has struck with people.

    By my way of thinking, it’s more proof than ever that we need to be careful about who we associate with.

  6. John Cooke says:

    Hi Louise
    When I read the email that prompted all this, like you I was angry. But then I started thinking about the person who wrote it.

    He seems threatened by your success; and jealous of your achievements. As a psychologist you would know that a person becomes what he thinks – and this guy is a mental midget. And an insecure one at that!

    I hope he’s reading this because if he wants to extricate himself from the quagmire in which he is wallowing, he needs to change his thinking.


  7. Go Chris, I haven’t read anything that honest in such a long time.
    I know I have underestimated myself and in doing so its given those around me permission to do it too.
    I still think I cant do trading etc as its a “male’ game.
    Since reading a lot and other personal growth study for the past 39 years and now reading Louise’s stuff, I am slowly coming around (am 62 and a women of substance).
    In the business world I experience this attitude sometimes from men and on the odd occasion other women who think they have to act like dickheads to get ahead and they do succeed.
    In my nursing career it is a little different and its a lot to do with we get equal salaries and how we are trained and I have had a lot of positive experiences with male colleagues , however some men when they rise to a senior management role revert to being stuck in their testosterone.
    In my psychotherapy career I have met some amazing men and a few so wounded they revert to either their teenager angry self or a hurt young child .
    Agree Louise we need to be very careful who we hang with and as a result of me letting go of toxic people (men and women) I am in a liminal space and you have inspired me with your blog response and talking about hope, thank you.
    Have loved reading the responses too, this has made my day and given me a smile too (Ian) , thank you everyone
    In Gratitude ,

  8. Beautifully said.

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