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Five South Asian Americans Make Barron’s Fourth Annual List of “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance”

Five South Asian Americans Make Barron’s Fourth Annual List of “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance”

  • New on the list are, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission Lina Khan and Meena Lakdawala-Flynn of Goldman Sachs.

Barron’s announced its fourth annual list of the “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” which honors women who have achieved positions of prominence in the financial services industry and are helping to shape its future. Making the prestigious list are four Indian Americans and two Pakistani Americans, most of whom were also featured in the third annual list last year.

Indian Americans on the list are Anu Aiyengar, Global Head, Mergers and Acquisitions, J.P. Morgan, Rupal J. Bhansali, Chief Investment Officer & Portfolio Manager, Global Equities, Ariel Investments, Meena Lakdawala-Flynn, Co-Head, Global Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs Group, Sonal Desai, Chief Investment Officer, Fixed Income, Franklin Templeton, and Savita Subramanian, Head of U.S. Equity & Quantitative Strategy, BofA Securities.

The two Pakistani Americans who made the list are Lina Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission and Saira Malik, Chief Investment Officer of Nuveen. Khan is one of the two women this year with ties to the government, a new category in Barron’s assessment of what constitutes influence. Dropped for this year’s list is Indian American Gunjan Kedia, vice-chair of Wealth Management & Investment Services, and new in the ranks are Meena Lakdawala-Flynn and Lina Khan.

In its commendation, Barron’s says, Under 34-year-old Lina Khan, “the FTC has proposed banning noncompete agreements, which limit workers’ ability to switch jobs. The agency also returned $60 million in lost tips to Amazon delivery drivers and recovered $115 million for MoneyGram customers who were scammed. Epic Games, the maker of the videogame Fortnite, paid a $520 million fine over accusations that it violated privacy laws and duped players into unintentional purchases. Khan, who previously taught at Columbia Law School, has drawn criticism from free-market conservatives, who accuse the agency of overreach. In a February op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Christine Wilson, the FTC’s lone Republican commissioner, announced that she was making a “noisy exit,” resigning “in the face of continuing lawlessness.” Khan and the two other Democratic commissioners said they “often disagreed with” Wilson but respected “her devotion to her beliefs.”

Anu Aiyengar has been interested in mergers and acquisitions from early in her career. She is the only person of color and the sole woman to carry this position on Wall Street. Since 1999, she has advised both domestic and international clients on over $500 billion worth of transactions including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures/separations, leveraged buyouts, proxy contests, unsolicited transactions and special committee assignments. She also serves on J.P. Morgan’s fairness and valuation committee. As the co-chair of the Investment Bank’s women network Aiyengar is involved with several initiatives across J.P. Morgan and Wall Street to recruit, mentor and develop women. She is also co-chair of the Smith Business Advisory Network. Aiyengar lives in New York City with her husband. She has a BA in economics from Smith College and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Rupal J. Bhansali broke through the glass ceiling and now uses her position as a senior leader to help other women succeed in finance.“My mantra is: I want women to earn money, learn money, manage money, and multiply money,” she told Barron’s. She manages more than $7 billion, including Ariel’s International Fund and Global Fund. This is her third appearance on Barron’s 100 list. After joining the board of the nonprofit 100 Women in Finance, she launched the webinar series “Candid Conversations with CIOs,” to give women an insider’s view of what it takes to become a chief investment officer and to show the impact that investors can have when managing billions of dollars in funds. “It’s said that women can’t be what they can’t see, so this is my effort of giving female CIOs more visibility and trying to showcase to our industry at large that this is what you can be,” she told the magazine. She earned a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and finance, as well as a Master of Commerce in international finance and banking from the University of Mumbai. She later earned an MBA in finance from the University of Rochester, where she was a Rotary Foundation Scholar.

As the executive vice president and chief investment officer for Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, Sonal Desai is responsible for overseeing Franklin’s Municipal, Corporate Credit, Floating Rate, Multisector, Global (including Emerging Markets), and Money Market Fixed Income teams. She is also a portfolio manager for a number of strategies. A member of Franklin Resources’ executive committee, a small group of the company’s top leaders responsible for shaping the firm’s overall strategy, she also serves on the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. Before her current role, she served as a portfolio manager with Dr. Michael Hasenstab for the flagship Templeton Global Bond and Templeton Global Total Return strategies, as well as director of research for Templeton Global Macro. She started her career as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh and then worked for over six years at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Following this, she joined the private financial sector and worked for about five years as director and senior economist for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London. She joined Franklin Templeton in 2009. She holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Delhi University and a Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University. 

See Also

As head of U.S. Equity Strategy & U.S. Quantitative Strategy and a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Savita Subramanian is responsible for determining forecasts for the S&P 500, recommending U.S. sector allocations and themes, and developing and marketing the firm’s US equity strategy product to institutional and individual clients. She is also a member of the firm’s Research & Recommendations Committee and a member of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Diversity & Inclusion Council. She has received high ranks in industry surveys including the Institutional Investor All America Research Team (ranked for the past 6 years) Greenwich Research survey, and Bloomberg Markets World’s Top Analysts. She frequently appears in television and print journalism and is a member/board member of Q Group, Chicago Quantitative Alliance, the Society of Quantitative Analysts and Women on Wall Street. Subramanian joined Merrill Lynch in 2001. Before was an analyst at Scudder Kemper Investments in New York and San Francisco. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Mathematics and Philosophy with Honors from U.C Berkeley and an MBA degree from Columbia University.

According to Barron’s Meena Flynn’s career in finance began soon after a sports injury. A zealous gymnast who at one point wanted to compete in the Olympics, Flynn had to stay at George Washington University one summer to rehabilitate her knee. She did an internship at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, working on the institutional equity sales desk. “The moment I stepped foot onto that trading floor, it was competitive juices flowing,” recalls Flynn, 45, co-head of global private wealth management at Goldman Sachs Group. “I just loved the markets and how micro and macro come together from an investing perspective.” Flynn joined JPMorgan Chase in 1999. The following year, Flynn moved to Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner in 2014. Today she wears several hats, including co-chairing the global inclusion and diversity committee. She recently attended a marquee event in California for a program called In the Lead, which caters to ultrahigh-net-worth women.

Pakistani American Saira Malik was recently named chief information officer of asset management firm Nuveen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of financial planning firm TIAA. She also leads the Global Investment Committee (GIC). As chair of the Equities Investment Council (EIC), she authors a quarterly market commentary. Additionally, she is the lead portfolio manager for the $120 plus billion CREF Stock strategy and a listed portfolio manager for over $30 billion CREF Growth and over $20 billion CREF Global Equities strategies. She also serves as the sole manager of a $5 billion global equity portfolio.” Before being named CIO, she was head of global equities portfolio management, and before that, head of global equities research. Previously, she was with JP Morgan Asset Management, where her roles included vice president/small-cap growth portfolio manager and equity research analyst. She graduated with a BS in Economics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and an MS in Finance from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

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