Barbara Ann Bernard: A Successful Entrepreneur in a Competitive Industry
Wincrest Capital dedicates it’s time to uncovering undervalued stocks wherever in the world they may be. Then, in the words of Sir John Templeton, some other time – “when people are overly excited, bidding prices up to higher and higher levels in their anxiety to buy, we accommodate them and sell those stocks we bought years before.” The world can seem like a big place, but it’s not if you know what you are looking for.
Industry a Meritocracy
Barbara Ann Bernard is honored to be among the company of extraordinary women on this list and feels that there is a responsibility that comes with this accolade: The 20 Most Successful Businesswomen to Watch, 2020.
Five years ago, when she founded Wincrest Capital, she had no idea about the need to advance women in investing. She believed that the industry was a meritocracy. If Wincrest generated stellar returns, then capital would ﬂow into the ﬁrm.
Two years into the journey, the FT called to ask what it was like to be a woman running a fund in a man’s world. She told the reporter that she had never thought about this. Barbara Ann was busy doing what she loved to do. She asked her to give her the weekend to research the industry, and she’d talk with her on Monday.
The research shocked her. Barbara Ann learned women and diverse-owned hedge funds only comprise 3% of the ﬁrms. Furthermore, collectively, these ﬁrms manage 1.3% of the assets. Barbara Ann was stunned, but not speechless! These stats helped her ﬁnd her voice. Wincrest did not have a performance problem, so she began speaking at industry conferences to raise the proﬁle and assets under management.
For the second year in a row, she was invited to speak in Omaha during the Berkshire Hathaway AGM festivities. She met Kim Shannon there, who told Barbara Ann how much she had enjoyed her speech. Kim’s company, Sionna Investment Managers, is Canada’s largest female-owned asset management ﬁrm. She told Kim about her dream of starting her own conference – a women’s investing conference. Kim then brought over her friend, Laura Rittenhouse, who invented a new investing discipline called Candor Analytics, which has been endorsed by Warren Buﬀett. Right then, all three vowed to launch the ﬁrst female investing conference during the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha.
When passion and purpose are combined with teamwork, extraordinary things happen. Even Warren Buﬀet came to kick oﬀ the conference! When asked what he thought of an all-female investment conference, Warren said,”Way Overdue!”. This ﬁrst Variant Perspectives conference was such a success that the team is planning to host another one in NYC on April 21st, 2020.
Barbara Ann believes she has a responsibility to herself, and society, to speak up when experiencing ambivalence over matters that are impeding talent and investment returns. Given many studies show that female investors often outperform their male colleagues, increasing assets under female management is not a charitable cause, it is an opportunity to unlock alpha and value for investors. Increasing assets under female management or – AUfM — her favorite 4 letter word — is a goal she is committed to achieving.
Diversity in the Industry
As a champion of active management and entrepreneurship, Barbara Ann Bernard foresees herself building an asset management platform to incubate diversity in the industry. The purpose of the platform is to discover, vet, and provide acceleration capital along with world-class operational and distribution support to promising women investment managers. It will empower these women to build sustainable businesses while giving them visibility and institutional credibility their performance merits. Equally, the platform creates opportunities for institutional investors to better meet their targeted investment returns as they gain the beneﬁts of cognitive diversity at scale in their investment portfolios. The platform is also a unique investment opportunity for its backers, who can invest in a democratizing, disruptive, and highly scalable concept that is both proﬁtable and impactful.
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