Ranking America's top 20 female portfolio managers

Of the 15,000 global portfolio managers tracked by Citywire, just 1,512 — or 10 percent — are women. In this ranking, we've focused on the top 20 female portfolio managers in the United States.

We've looked at those women who have delivered the highest levels of return relative to the risks they have exposed investors to over the past three years. Not only that, but they all boast returns that place them in the top 25 percent of the peer group for their particular investment discipline.

This list of top-rated female portfolio managers in the United States brings together a diverse group of investment strategies run in locations throughout the country (and a couple outside of it) and available to U.S. investors.

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The keen-eyed among you will spot the fact that two of the women aren't actually based in the United States, with Nicole Kornitzer working in Paris on Buffalo Funds international equity portfolio and Hermes Fund Managers' Elena Tedesco running her emerging market fund out of London. However, as both run money for U.S. investors and are on funds that are accessible here in the United States, they are included on the list.

These portfolio managers are the individuals entrusted with managing large portions of your 401(k) plans. They seek to preserve your capital while making stock decisions that will grow your retirement savings for the time when you need to buy an annuity that will provide income for the rest of your life. As such, the quality of the job they do is paramount to setting you up to live a comfortable, and hopefully long, existence in those golden years.

Despite the imbalance in the number of women portfolio managers, we've unearthed no statistical differences in women's ability to make good or bad decisions with your money. Women exhibit the same ability to outperform their chosen market as men, which is the raison d'être of anyone who manages money for a living. Proportionally, women also manage just as much money as their male counterparts.

Contributing Fund(s)
Manager Ratio
1 Cynthia J. Clemson Eaton Vance Management, Boston Eaton Vance AMT-Free Municipal Income Fund; Eaton Vance High Yield Municipal Income Fund 1.47
2 Natalie N. Trevithick Payden & Rygel, Los Angeles Payden Corporate Bond Fund;Investor 1.21
3 Nancy G. Angell AMG Funds, Boston AMG GW&K Municipal Bond Fund; AMG GW&K Municipal Enhanced Yield Fund 0.89
4 Catherine Stienstra Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Minneapolis Columbia Strategic Municipal Income Fund; Columbia Minnesota Tax-Exempt Fund 0.8
5 Jean Hynes Wellington Management, Boston Hartford Healthcare HLS; Vanguard Health Care Fund; Hartford Healthcare Fund 0.66
6 Anne Bookwalter Walsh Guggenheim, Santa Monica, California Guggenheim Investment Grade Bond Fund; Guggenheim Total Return Bond Fund 0.6
7 Nicole Kornitzer Buffalo Mutual Funds, Paris, France Buffalo International Fund 0.59
8 Margaret Vitrano ClearBridge Investments, New York ClearBridge Large Cap Growth Fund;A 0.58
9 Margaret Patel Wells Fargo, Newton, Massachusetts Wells Fargo Diversified Cap Bldr Fd; Wells Fargo Diversified Inc Bldr Fd; Wells Fargo High Yield Bond Fund 0.55
10 Luz Padilla DoubleLine Capital LP, Los Angeles DoubleLine Low Duration Bond Fund; AMG Managers DoubleLine Core Plus Bond Fund 0.49
11 Karen L. Bowie Nuveen Fund Advisors Inc., Minneapolis Nuveen Small Cap Value Fund; Nuveen Mid Cap Value Fund 0.49
12 Jenny Jones Schroders, New York Hartford Schroders US Small/Mid Cap Opps Fd; Wells Fargo Small Cap Opp Fd; Hartford Schroders US Sm Cap Opportunities Fd 0.48
13 Christine Hurtsellers Voya Investment Management, Atlanta Voya Intermediate Bond Fund; Voya Strategic Income Opportunities Fund 0.48
14 Elena Tedesco Hermes Fund Managers, London, U.K. Calvert Emerging Markets Equity Fund 0.46
15 Lisa Coleman JP Morgan Asset Management, New York JPMorgan Corporate Bond 0.45
16 Elizabeth Jones Buffalo Mutual Funds, Kansas City, Missouri Buffalo Large Cap Fund; Buffalo Discovery Fund 0.42
17 Patricia Ribeiro American Century Investment Management,New York American Century Emerging Markets Sm Cp Fund; American Century Emerging Markets Fund; American Century NT Emerging Markets Fund 0.35
18 Amy Hu Sunderland Grandeur Peak Global Advisors, Salt Lake City Grandeur Peak Global Micro Cap Fund; Grandeur Peak Global Opportunities Fund 0.35
19 Maria Negrete-Gruson Artisan Partners, New York Artisan Emerging Markets Fund;Institutional 0.33
20 Maura Murphy Natixis Global Asset Management, Boston Loomis Sayles Multi-Asset Income Fund;A 0.31
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Topping the list is Boston-based Cynthia Clemson, manager of municipal bonds for Eaton Vance. Clemson's focus on the higher-yielding part of the municipal bond market has been the source of much of her outperformance. Municipals have been in a sweet spot over the past five years and are well represented by this group of portfolio managers.

At the top of the list with Clemson are Natalie Trevithick, of Payden & Rygel; Nancy G Angell, of GW&K Investment Management; and Catherine Stienstra, at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Clemson's focus on the higher-yielding part of the municipal bond market has been the source of much of her outperformance.

Another standout name on this list is Jean Hynes of Wellington Management. In fifth place, she is responsible for running more money than any other woman on the planet. With close to $50 billion of assets under management in mutual funds alone, she is part of an elite group of star portfolio managers.

Rather than trumpet her investment views, the pharmaceuticals specialist has quietly gone about her business at Wellington Management. Such is Hynes' quality in this area that she has been drafted by Vanguard and Hartford to manage their assets in this space.

More from Portfolio Perspective:
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Pharmaceuticals and health care are firmly back on the agenda, in light of the presidential election result. However, Hynes was fairly relaxed about the impact that a Donald Trump presidency will have on both Obamacare and drug prices. Speaking days before the result, she told Citywire: "We do not believe the Affordable Care Act will be dismantled, nor that we will see meaningful structural change in how drug prices are set in the U.S."

Outside of the top five, the split between broad asset classes is fairly even. Nine of the top 20 run bond portfolios, and 10 are responsible for equity funds. There are even four managers who make the cut from the all-important and notoriously tough domestic U.S. equity market. No area in global investment has had more of a transition from active mutual funds to passive funds, and as such, anyone adding significant value deserves respect.

However, ClearBridge Investments' Margaret Vitrano is the only one to manage the prized large-cap equities. Her outperformance has in part been achieved by holding a significant overweight to the health-care sector — 20 percent of the fund.

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The rest of the U.S. equity managers run funds in the small- and mid-cap sectors, where outperformance is easier. They are Nuveen Fund Advisors' Karen Bowie, Schroder's Jenny Jones, and Elizabeth Jones of Buffalo Mutual Funds. With many industry experts backing the domestically focused companies found within the small- and mid-cap index to prosper under the new administration, the good times might only just be beginning for this trio.

Elsewhere, in emerging markets, three managers make the cut. They are Elena Tedesco of Hermes Fund Managers, Patricia Ribeiro of American Century Investment Management and Maria Negrete-Gruson of Artisan Partners. Over the second half of the year, the most popular trade for investment has undoubtedly been into emerging markets. However, unlike the smaller companies, this is an area that could face a tough time against a backdrop of President-elect Trump's more protectionist stance on global trade.

— By Frank Talbot, head of investment research, Citywire USA