One approach to succeeding in a networked world is to build your own network. With a database of 350 women hedge fund managers who run $60 billion all told, that's exactly what Susan Shaffer Solovay has done.
And now her fund of funds, Pomegranate Capital, is on the hunt for a strategic partner to help build the business and access what she calls the most talented women and minority alternative investment managers. Solovay's had two years now to vet her network in a sprawling hedge fund universe which runs to over 10,000 disparate outfits. Pomegranate Capital-which Solovay will only say has assets of less than $100 million under management-invests solely in hedge funds with women managers.
Solovay's sometimes been paired with a UC Davis study from economist Brad Barber and finance lecturer Terrence Odean called "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investment."
It argues that male traders are overshot with pride and more likely to over-trade than women managers, and that therefore women make better hedge fund managers. But she takes that with a grain of salt. For her, it's more about putting an effective filter in a large fund investment milieu, and channeling capital to women, who have a harder time raising money. "I wouldn't say all women are great risk managers and all men over-trade, not at all," she says. "My firm really has more to do with a market inefficiency."
Only four percent of venture capital goes to women, Solovay says. "In the hedge fund industry, same thing. Men have been there longer, investing longer, have deeper relationships," she says. "So to me there's a market inefficiency. If there are enough great women with great long-term track records, if they've had a harder time raising money, to me those are overlooked gems worthy of taking a look at." Take the top 10 percent of this group and you better your chances of effective returns. In fact, since these women have had to scrap harder for money perhaps they're even a little sharper in how they go about their business.
She's caught flack from those who, like the gadflys at smart-guy blog Long or Short Capital, say she's leaving money on the table by avoiding active traders. "Using a gender filter annoys some people. But you know, 18 percent of the world thinks Elvis is alive. Who cares what they think? If they knew the way the biggest funds of funds work-well, they all have a filter."
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