Bridging the gender investment gap is now more than ever a conversation that needs to be had and listened to by the investment community. It is not insignificant that this discussion has parallels with the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs when trying to raise money.
A key similarity is that both face industries that are male dominated, certainly true in wealth management, which is often cited as a factor in holding back women from investing. The point here, as we made with the overall issue of having more women on boards—which has largely been achieved with NEDs—is that we need more women in senior executive roles in wealth management firms.
A key similarity faced by women both in investment and as entrepreneurs is that the industries are historically male-dominated, which makes change from within difficult and slow. A recent study found that only 26% of millennial women are investing compared to 43% of millennial men. Not only do we need more women holding positions on company boards—an issue already being addressed by NEDs—but in order to see real change we need more women in senior executive roles, especially the wealth management industry.
Research shows that on the whole women are not as familiar with financial terminology as men, making them hesitate with regard to investing. Other research shows that simply the sheer number of funds and investments options available is a significant deterrent for women. There have already been calls for wealth managers to make their product and marketing literature more accessible, as well as to launch educational initiatives that help women change their attitudes towards investment.
The irony is that research shows that women are actually better investors than men over the long term, as they tend to be more patient when thinking through their investment approaches.
Women are also more goals-orientated than men and have a deeper interest in EGS issues and ensuring that the investments they make benefit society as whole.
These points were all raised at two recent panel events on subject, supported by Sapience Communications. The first was held at the renowned AllBright members club. Panellists included: Sam Smith, CEO of finnCap Group plc; Belinda Thomas, Partner with Triple Point; Kat Mann, Head of PR for Nutmeg; and Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, Chief Strategy Officer at BLEND Network. Most recently was the “Bridging the Gender Investment Gap – Making Your Money Work” event, co-hosted by leading law firm Pinsent Masons and BLEND Network. Panelists included Gill Fielding, CEO of Fielding Financial and Money Mum, Kalpana Fitzpatrick, Finance Editor at Hearst publication and the BBC’s, Money101; Marianna Hunt, financial journalist at The Daily Telegraph and Emily West, leads the Leadership Development programme for RBS Corporate & institutional banking.