‘Women don’t invest’ – SavvyWoman

Written by Oliver Wade

“There have been some real barriers to women investing”, SavvyWoman founder Sarah Pennells, has said at a roundtable in London this week.

Pennells said shortly after starting SavvyWoman in 2009, she spoke with fund managers, financial advisers and product providers and a common trend was that, generally, “women don’t invest”. The SavvyWoman founder further commented: “I hadn’t expected this response, so I didn’t have anything witty to say back.

“There wasn’t a sense of ‘our customers aren’t women, and this is a real problem; this is something that we realise is wrong. We really want to reach women’. It was sort of full stop. Women don’t invest. And I think that this is why so few women have felt comfortable to invest”.

Pennells believes that one of the primary reasons as to why a large majority of the population of investors are male is due to the marketing literature and language used.

“Everybody knows how fond our industry is of jargon. I don’t think anyone would say they like the jargon around financial services, but there is some evidence, although, I don’t think many men really like the jargon, but I think men have a different response to it than women. So, sometimes it is an acceptance.

“Certainly a lot of women that I’ve talked to through websites and at our events, have a similar response as I have, which is ‘if you can’t explain to me clearly what you’re going to do with my money, why should I trust you with it?’”.

UBS SmartWealth, an investing platform developed by UBS bank, has tried to combat this problem and its head, Nick Middleton, commented: “Our entire user experience team when we built SmartWealth was female. Our content team are 100 per cent female. Part of the cycle is very visible and has all been designed by females, so I think we are female friendly. I think we get some good feedback.

“When we look at the demographic breakdown of our clients, very interestingly, we clearly have a spike around 35 to 45 year olds, which is male, but we also have a big spike at either end. Our younger investors and older investors tend to be female.”

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