• Women-led hedge funds lost 3.5% in 2020 through the end of April, according to the HFR Women's Access index. In the same timeframe, the HFRI 500 Fund Weighted index, which tracks hedge funds led by both men and women, slipped 5.5%.
  • While there's no clear answer as to why women-led funds outperformed, it could be due to focus on protecting losses amid the coronavirus-induced market rout, according to The Financial Times .
  • Still, women are underrepresented in hedge funds, data show.
  • Read more on Business Insider .

A group of hedge funds led by women performed better than their male rivals as the coronavirus pandemic roiled global markets.

Women-led hedge funds lost 3.5% in 2020 through the end of April, according to the HFR Women's Access index . In the same timeframe, the HFRI 500 Fund Weighted index, which tracks hedge funds led by both men and women, slipped 5.5%.

While it's unclear exactly why the women-led funds have outperformed this year, it could be because women managers are better at protecting losses, according to The Financial Times. This would've been a major asset as global markets began to tank at the end of February as the coronavirus pandemic spooked investors.

Read more: Famed economist David Rosenberg says investors are falling into a classic market trap that's historically preceded a further meltdown and warns 'there's not going to be much of a recovery'

Performance data backs up the notion hedge funds led by women posted smaller losses in both February and March market sell-offs, the FT reported, citing HFR indexes.

The outperformance highlights a gender imbalance in the $3 trillion hedge fund industry even though women-led funds are now outperforming, they remain a small piece of the field.

Currently, women make up 18.8% of those working in hedge funds, the second-lowest proportion across asset classes, according to a February study from Preqin . In addition, women represent only 10.9% of senior employees at hedge funds, according to the report.

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