The percentage of U.S. mutual fund managers who are women is 9.4%, according to Morningstar.
The Raymond James Women’s Symposium offered what it called a “rare treat” when it welcomed three female portfolio managers to the stage. This was also the symposium’s first portfolio management panel in its 23-year history.
Jessica Bemer is a portfolio manager at Snow Capital, where she manages the Snow Capital Investment Partners L.P. Private Fund, the Snow Capital Opportunity Fund and the Large Cap Value strategy.
Bemer was joined by Jitania Kandhari, head of the global macroeconomic research at Morgan Stanley Asset Management and the co-PM on the emerging market breakout nations strategy; and Anne Lester, multi-asset solutions portfolio manager and head of retirement solutions for global asset management solutions at JP Morgan Asset Management.
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Each took turns giving a brief investment outlook and describing where they currently see opportunities in the market.
Bemer’s firm, Snow Capital, is a contrarian value manager.
“We look for those investments that are typically beat up for some specific reason,” she told the crowd. “So companies that are struggling, whether it’s something intrinsic to the company or market-oriented.”
Because out of a universe of 3,000 to 5,000 stocks Bemer needs only 40 to 50, she said she’s really focused on those areas that are really beat up in the last 12 months.
“We’ve had lots of opportunity in the energy space,” she said. “Those are starting to play out right now, but there’s still plenty of opportunity in energy, especially natural gas. Natural gas stocks are pretty intereting at this point.”
She’s also seen a huge shakeup in the consumer discretionary space, specifically in retail and department stores.
“Some of that is interesting but some of it is risky so we’re trying to navigate that very carefully,” she added.
Bemer also said that interest rates will “probably be some type of catalyst” in the next six months across the equity market.
“And so we’re looking for ways to capitalize on the changes in interest rates,” she added.