Fund management is waking up to female investors as a force who could unlock an extra €177bn of investable wealth, but after decades of neglect and blaming them for their disengagement, the investment sector faces an uphill battle to win women’s trust and money.
Women typically earn less, invest less and stay focused on the short-term rather than lifetime planning. This financially disadvantages them at virtually every stage of their lives, culminating in pensions on average a third smaller than a man.
The traditional approach in financial services has been to blame women for these supposed failings or, because of their perceived lack of wealth or aspiration to increase it, to ignore them entirely.
As women emerge as increasingly the biggest inheritors of wealth, they are being seen anew as a multi-billion pound untapped resource – but one the sector is disconnected from, and untrusted by.
“The financial lives of women, along with their career trajectories, which closely impact their financial lives, often look significantly different to those of men,” says Ellie Austin-Williams, financial coach and founder of This Girl Talks Money, “the financial services system was designed by, and for, men, and it still hasn't really been updated to reflect that”.
Now the sector is trying to work out how it can adapt to the money worries and wants of an unfamiliar demographic who just happen to make up half the world, and an ever-larger share of its wealth – in what has the opportunity to be a win-win for women too.
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