Connecting Female Hedge Fund Managers to Capital

Mar 3, 2023

As women in the hedge fund industry raise record amounts of capital, Morgan Stanley’s Tracy Castle-Newman explains how her decades-long work supporting female hedge fund managers is helping change the face of Wall Street and bringing value to clients.

Women in the hedge fund industry have made historic strides recently: In just the past year, hedge fund launches by women gained momentum, and two female hedge fund managers raised more than $1 billion each in assets, setting records for capital raised by women-led hedge funds. In her 20-plus years at Morgan Stanley, Tracy Castle-Newman has helped women in the hedge fund industry build connections, raise their profiles, socialize their investment theses and increase their access to capital. That work has cemented Morgan Stanley Prime Brokerage as the partner of choice for female emerging hedge fund managers.


Castle-Newman, who was recently named to Business Insider’s 29 People to Know When Launching a Hedge Fund and is Global Head of Client Business Development and Strategy in the Institutional Equity Division (IED), discusses how her work supporting women in investment management is helping change the face of Wall Street and outlines the opportunities for future progress.

You have supported female portfolio managers for decades. How has that turned into measurable progress for women in the industry and increased value for Morgan Stanley’s clients?

Castle-Newman: A great barometer for progress is the Women’s Investment Roundtable that I founded a decade ago. It’s a multi-day event that brings together top female portfolio managers from around the world for an ideas roundtable. What started as a 16-person event has grown into a community, which we call the WIR community, of more than 100 female investors. The conference now has about 45 investors in attendance and has become a marquis conference of the Equity Division.

These women are seasoned investors across asset managers and hedge funds. Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen a number of these women launch their own funds or become the lead PMs on the largest funds in their firms. The WIR community has provided a support system for women, because they can meet and learn from other women who have gone through these experiences.

To help keep women engaged on investing topics, I launched a thematic series in 2020, which provides connections to our best thought leaders in Research to debate current investment themes in the market. This has enabled access to our best content in a very scalable way. In some cases, the managers may not have received this direct access because they were unknown inside the walls of Morgan Stanley. Now, these investors have relationships with our best analysts and all of IED management.

Our work has put Morgan Stanley at the forefront of capital introduction for women hedge fund managers.
Global Head of Client Business Development and Strategy, Institutional Equity Division
In addition to the Roundtable supporting a broad range of women in the hedge fund industry, Morgan Stanley Prime Brokerage also supports female portfolio managers launching their own hedge funds. How are these efforts making a difference for founders and investors?

Castle-Newman: Following the success of the Roundtable, we decided to add a “cap-intro” conference that focused exclusively on connecting female hedge fund managers to investors. The Morgan Stanley Women’s Investment Leadership Conference has grown into a seminal event for managers and investors in the five years since it launched. In December 2022, 26 female founders of funds and 150 allocators attended. We hosted 52 breakout sessions and four in-depth panel discussions. The quality of managers we had was unprecedented—a function of the fact that more women have started funds in the past three years. Our capital introduction team has seen growing interest from allocators interested in vetting female hedge fund managers, so demand on the investor side has picked up too. 

Our work has put Morgan Stanley at the forefront of capital introduction for women hedge fund managers. As a result, when women set up new funds, they will almost always contact us. For women, part of the issue when they go out to raise capital is that they’re not well-known. We open the door to the allocator community, so that founders start to build a network.

What opportunities do you see for women in the hedge fund industry to achieve further progress?

Castle-Newman: One challenge to starting a hedge fund is that women have to be successful enough within a firm to commit a sizable amount of their liquid net worth to launch. For some investors, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation. Large institutional investors, for example, will only invest a certain amount to ensure they don’t represent more than a certain percentage of a fund’s assets (except in circumstances in which they become a seed investor and share in the economics). As a result, new hedge funds will often have to grow a sizable amount before large institutions will consider investing. With this as a barrier to scale, it provides a great opportunity for Morgan Stanley to elevate the profile of female founders with investors.

Hedge fund industry veterans are also recognizing the need to provide scalable infrastructure to help female hedge fund managers get up and running right away. A few new platforms we’re hearing from want to provide help with infrastructure—the operational processes and technology—marketing and other business functions that are separate from the investing side. There’s a lot of opportunity for future progress in this realm, because it helps women launch on a timeline and raise capital more quickly, and we are in the middle of all of it.

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