In 2000, Mel Gibson entertained audiences in “What Women Want” as he had the power to hear what women think. He then used these ‘insights’ to gain an upper-hand in the workplace.
Fund managers and investment analysts would yearn for this inside perspective when advising their female investors, to help them understand exactly what drives women when making investment decisions.
“The world’s most successful investor, Warren Buffett, says he invests ‘like a girl’,” says Steven Cronin, the Founder of Wise, a non-profit community that assists expats to invest wisely. “Studies show that women outperform men in personal investing over the long-term. The flipside of this cautious approach is women often don’t start investing early enough and don’t take enough risk in those earlier years.”
SA Expat, Anna Heystek who’s founder of BOTH Holdings UAE and goBlue International says, “You can’t predict the future and always need to consider the downward risks. So it’s critical to invest in different asset classes to minimise the market impact of a fall or big loss.”
“I usually decide on my own, however I don’t make decisions until I have spoken to those people who’ve been successful at investing in the asset classes in which I’m interested,” she says “I keep track of trends as well as research economists and financial experts to determine what and how I should invest.”
Cronin also says women generally spend more time researching investment options before committing their cash and trade less frequently.
The importance of personal responsibility is something that property investment firm IP Global’s Ilana Van Huysteen-Meyer agrees with. “Find a role model or a mentor who will guide you,” she says. “Do not become dependent on them, but rather use their guidance to acquire the knowledge that you need to make your own decisions.”
Younger women are more in control of their investments than older women, but the gender gap still prevails, according to research her company released earlier this year. In the survey of among 6,007 women over 18, younger women are more likely to invest in stocks and shares than older women are, although overall women are less likely than men to invest.
In Van Huysteen-Meyer’s view, the debate around whether or not women are better investors than men is not a useful debate. “There may be research to prove this statement one way or another and no doubt it changes every time a new study is completed,” she shares. “But smart investment decisions are not gender-based – they’re determined by how much effort you put into your research and your willingness to learn from those around you.”
She says the investment industry itself is cloaked in jargon and predominantly a male environment. More could be done to bring female advisors on board and better engage female clients, she believes.
Resources: IP Global, Wise, BOTH Holdings UAE, goBlue International