BE 100s: 5 Tips On How To Position Your Business

Holland Capital's Monica L. Walker is delivering top financial performance in a male-dominated industry

It’s A Man’s World
Women are heavily underrepresented in all key positions of the financial services industry, not just within portfolio management. According to the report “Where The Boys Are—Gender, Risk Taking, and Authority in Institutional Equity Management” released by Quantitative Management Associates in 2013, women account for 52% of support staff, 24% in marketing and client service, 24% of traders, 16% of analysts, and just 11% of portfolio managers. The disparity between women and men grows with seniority, particularly in the institutional equity management sphere: Men represent 92% of CIOs and senior management.

Such abysmal figures put Walker in a rare position as an African American female CEO of a money management firm, a testament to Holland’s maverick style of command. “The firm has always been predominantly female in terms of leadership. One of the things that [Lou] told people is ‘I started the company with three women so I wouldn’t have to hire 10 men,’” recounts Walker.

As a founder, Walker was involved in the creation of the firm’s large cap growth strategy; the Lou Holland Growth Fund (now an American Beacon fund) was created in 1996; the mid cap growth strategy followed in 2005. Upon Holland’s retirement, founding partner Janus became a managing director and chief investment officer of the fixed-income group, while Lavery became a managing director and chief administrative officer. Walker became managing director and CIO of the equity division and assumed oversight of the firm’s day-to-day operations.

The control and ownership of the firm was transferred from Holland’s 90% to a group of seven employees led by Walker, who became the largest owner followed by co-portfolio manager and senior equity analyst Carl Bhathena.

The times, they are a-changing observes Holland Capital’s Director of Marketing Valerie King. States such as Illinois, New York, and California have emerging manager minority- and woman-enterprise initiatives that are “forcing a lot of folks into having conversations with us who may not have talked to us 10 years ago,” explains King. “There are more opportunities and access to capital now than before.”

Case in point is Holland Capital being tapped by the University of Chicago in 2011 to manage a portion of its endowment, valued at $6.6 billion as of 2013. “When you look at educational institutions with large endowments it is very rare that you will see minority money managers investing those endowments,” says Nadia Quarles, assistant vice president of business diversity, who introduced Holland Capital to the University of Chicago through a symposium intended to develop business relationships between minority- and women-owned professional services firms and university decision makers. “Our chief investment officer felt that there was a close philosophical alignment between Holland’s investment strategy and the university’s views.”

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