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Alumna Wins Women in Investment Award


Chantana Ward G'08

AUP alumni are achieving success at the international level in a wide variety of fields and industries. Their backgrounds, stories and career paths may vary, but their drive to participate in a global community means they frequently flourish in cross-border environments.

Chantana Ward G’08 is a prime example. She grew up in a refugee camp in Cambodia during the country’s civil war, before moving to France as a teenager and later to the United States. Though she started her career in investment management over two decades ago without a formal educational qualification, she was, in 2022, named Fund Manager of the Year for a small- or medium-sized firm at the Investment Week Women in Investment Awards.

Ward has spent her whole career working for Comgest, an independent, Paris-based international asset management group, which she first joined in 1998. Midway through her career, she attended AUP to study for an MSc in Finance, which at the time was a joint program with Baruch College at the City University of New York. Ward continued working throughout her degree. “It was very intense!” she explains. “But it allowed me to say I had a diploma for the first time.”

She had initially been enrolled at Comgest to work broadly across Asian equity markets, but after graduating – and following the financial crisis of 2008 – she narrowed her focus to Japan. “Most people were giving up on the Japanese market at the time to focus on more emerging markets across Asia,” she explains. “But I decided it was the right time to look at Japan more closely.”

The Investment Week award recognizes her 20 years of achievement and experience in the Japanese market. Ward’s fund has seen particular success in recent years, growing in value over the last six years from around $500 million to more than $7 billion at its peak in late 2020. “Japan is a thriving market,” explains Ward. “Though it's also important to be aware of what’s going on in global markets, as everything is interacting.”

She is particularly grateful that she was nominated for the award by her co-workers. “It can sometimes be hard in this market as a woman and as someone who is not Japanese,” says Ward. “But I enjoy my job, and it’s very fulfilling to know that people have respect for what I do.” In addition to the Investment Week award, Ward has also made the Citywire ranking of top female investors five years running.