Gender investment gap of £100.8 billion in the UK
The debate around how to increase female engagement with the investment market continued to rage at this year’s Boring Money Annual Conference, which tackled how the investment industry can improve customer engagement and communications.
According to data from Boringmoney.co.uk:
- Only 12% of women have a stocks and shares ISA compared to 19% of men.
- On average, their balance is just £22,907 compared to £35,616 for their male counterparts.
- 20% of women self-assess with a confidence level of 0 out of 10 when it comes to opening an investment account, compared to 13% of men.
Holly Mackay, CEO of Boring Money, said: “Data tells us that women are less engaged and invest less than men. We’re not connecting. If the industry doesn’t care from a sense of social injustice, it should care from the economic perspective. If the same number of women invested the same amount as men, there would be £100.8 billion more invested in the UK.”
Journalist Lucy Mangan, who also spoke at the event, set the finance industry three challenges to engage with women:
- Understand that money is emotional – for women it is still a means to independence, freedom, security for our children and other freighted states of being and mind that men can generally take for granted
- Want to explain yourselves – be willing dismantle your own mystique
- Remember that our money is as good as men’s money – pursue it as willingly as you do theirs
“The first thing we have to do is get women over the psychological hump of investing, rather than saving; plus the deeply embedded idea that risk is not a good thing,” she said. “For women, money still represents safety and security and independence and freedom. Men are more likely to take all that for granted. Women may be looking at a time when they have children, recognising that they may be more insecure work-wise. It brings a different perception of risk.”
She believes even when women get to the point of investing, many simply don’t know how to buy shares. Providers need to pare their communications down to basics without being patronising.
The event also posed the question: should we be talking to women differently? Janine Menasakanian, Head of Distribution Strategy—Personal Investing, Legal & General Investment Management, said: “It’s about being cognisant of the key issues for women. That means demystifying and simplifying, and also making it more emotional. We need to change the language. The statistics aren’t great for men either so there’s a general need to be clearer about what we do.”
Mangan believes that messaging should keep it simple, and not be paternalistic. “There are two ways to do it. Either you can have a significant organic change in your company, hiring lots of young women and create a diverse workforce. They will naturally speak in a way that women understand. Or to short-cut that, you need to have one over-arching goal, where communications are pushed through a genuine desire to connect.”
Notes to Editors:
The Boring Money Annual Conference is now in its third year. Held at London’s South Bank on Wednesday September 26th, the event focuses on communication and how the investment industry can engage its customers better. With particular focus on the issues of risk, trust, data and value, the Boring Money Annual Conference combines talks, interviews, and panel debates with market leaders (from both within and outside of the industry) to highlight the best practices, opportunities and change within the sector.
For media enquires please contact:
Cara Whitehouse, Boring Money
Vicky Taylor, Koozai
About Boring Money:
www.boringmoney.co.uk is an independent research and content business which provides information, tips and Best Buys to consumers. The business conducts regular research with industry providers and consumers and looks at the developing DIY investment market from both the customer and provider perspective. Boring Money holds test accounts with over 25 providers and also holds regular focus groups and interviews with consumers to ensure regular input and feedback from the user perspective.
Founder Holly Mackay has worked in the investment industry for 19 years and is supported by a team of 10 researchers, analysts and marketing execs. www.boringmoney.co.uk is not regulated to give personal financial advice, nor is it regulated by the industry watchdog.