INVESTMENT MANAGER OF THE YEAR — SPONSORED BY STATE STREET
Kate Howitt - Portfolio manager
Fidelity Worldwide Investments
As one of only a handful of registered female lead portfolio managers in Australia, Kate Howitt is passionate about deconstructing the barriers to entry for women in financial services who may not normally pursue a career in finance.
She has been a portfolio manager in Fidelity's Australian equities investment team since 2007, overseeing the retail-offer Fidelity Australian Opportunities Fund, as well as institutional mandates.
Her quest to champion the benefits of dividend imputation to the Australian Federal Government was just one of the reasons why she won the Investment Manager of the Year award.
Howitt's previous experience saw her working as a research analyst covering banks, insurers, and diversified financials for the Fidelity group.
She has been the sole portfolio manager for the Fidelity Australian Opportunities Fund since its inception in July 2012.
The Fund has outperformed its benchmark by 7.25 per cent over the last 12 months and by 2.51 per cent per annum over a three-year period.
Howitt feels companies that are able to overcome issues surrounding diversity in employment, retain their best talent as well as afford equal opportunities to women are "on the right track" for long-term success.
"I undertook a liberal arts degree at university [and] I was also attracted to understanding what makes great business and how businesses change through time. I think investing is the liberal arts of business and finance," Howitt said.
"My job is fascinating and so content-driven. [However], I think the trouble is most girls who are selecting their university courses don't opt for a degree in finance because the content doesn't necessarily pique their interest — it's not quantitative enough for them to pursue a career in finance."
The other finalist was Anne Anderson from UBS Global Asset Management, who impressed the judges with proven experience across the Asia Pacific, and her initiative to provide information sessions for HSC students.
Anne Anderson - Head of fixed income and managing director
UBS Global Asset Management