October 5, 2018

Diversity: Hope for Closing M&A’s Gender Gap?

This Norton Rose Fulbright blog discusses gender diversity among M&A professionals. It notes a 2011 Reuters article that characterized M&A as continuing to be “overwhelmingly a man’s game.” The blog says there’s been only limited movement toward greater gender diversity since then, but offers some reason for optimism about closing M&A’s gender gap. Here’s an excerpt:

The distinct characteristics of female players in the M&A domain are being recognized and celebrated. Collaboration, creativity, relationship-building and heightened emotional and social intelligence, are just a few attributes that set women apart at the negotiating table. In her interview with Mergermarket, Jennifer Muller, Managing Partner of Houlihan Lokey, discusses studies that have shown that “diversity improves performance because it makes people a bit uncomfortable which forces everyone to be on their game and perform their best.” A report by the Harvard Business Review emphasizes that companies with a higher number of women on their boards made fewer bids and paid less for acquisitions.

While the industry is still a long way from gender parity, the narrative about women in M&A is different now. Women are heading up M&A groups in the biggest investment banks in the world. Clients and investors are recognizing the value of diversity in viewpoints to solve problems and showcasing stories highlighting women who are attaining successes in the M&A field act as testimonials for females in the industry.

John Jenkins