By Emily Stewart
Forbes proudly announced this week what it called “another record year for women” on its annual list of billionaires. Of a total 1,826 billionaires on its 2015 ranking, 197 are women. Eleven percent. Granted, that figure is better than the number you get of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 (5.2%) and S&P 500 (4.8%). But it’s not stellar.
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It’s no secret that women are largely underrepresented in most industries – including and perhaps especially the most lucrative. An investing and finance are no exception.
There are a handful of women on the Forbes list who owe their fortunes to the business of money. Here is a look at three.
In October 2014, confirmation came that Abigail Johnson would replace her father, Edward, as the CEO of Fidelity. She is the third generation Johnson family member to lead the asset management giant, which handles more than $2 trillion in assets.
Johnson attended William Smith College as an undergraduate and went to Harvard for her MBA. She joined Fidelity as an analyst and portfolio manager in 1988 and has held various positions within the firm since.
Arguably the most powerful woman in finance, Johnson has been described as “ultra-private” and rarely makes public statements. In a rare 2014 interview, she explained why Fidelity doesn’t do acquisitions, except for very small transactions. “We don’t have a public currency that would make any [major] acquisition viable,” she said. “Everyone in the company understands this. We build stuff ourselves and over the long term that’s been very good.”
With a net worth of $13.3 billion, Abigail Johnson is listed on Forbes’ 2015 billionaires ranking at number 85.
The chief executive of Kingston Financial Group, Pollyanna Chu founded the firm alongside her husband, Nicholas, in 1992. An investment holding company based in Hong Kong, Kingston operates across several segments, including securities brokerage, underwriting and placements and margin and institutional public offering financing. It also operates hotels, restaurants and casinos.
Chu holds a management degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. After graduation, she worked for a short while in California real estate before returning home to Hong Kong. “When I came back to Hong Kong in 1992, I decided to pursue a new career challenge,” explained in an interview with Forbes Asia.
Over the years, Chu has expanded her prowess fall beyond securities. In 2012, she bought a major stake in Sincere Watches. Kingston’s hotel and casino properties in Macao include the Grandview Hotel and Casa Real Hotel.
At number 1226 on the Forbes billionaires list, Chu has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion.
Chen Jinxia took the reigns of Hunan Yongjin Group in 2008 in the wake of her husband’s suicide. He was the investment firm’s founder.
2014 was good to Jinxia, thanks to strong returns from a portfolio of more than 80 businesses. HMT New Technical Materials, Sinolink Securities and Zhuzhou Qianjin Pharmaceutical are among her firm’s holdings. Her most valuable position is a stake in brokerage firm Sinolink Securities.
Jinxia is number 810 on the Forbes billionaires list, with a net worth of $2.6 billion.