Britain’s gender investment gap tops £100bn

Britain’s gender investment gap tops £100bn

Britain’s investment industry is missing out on more than £100bn of investments because it is not connecting with women, the head of Boring Money has warned.

Data from Boring Money showed just 12 per cent of women had a stocks and shares Isa compared with 19 per cent of men, while 20 per cent of women said they had no confidence when it comes to opening an investment account compared to 13 per cent of men.

Holly Mackay, chief executive 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 justice, it should care from the economic perspective. If the same number of women invested the same amount as men, there would be £100.8bn more invested in the UK."

Ms Mackay’s comments coincided with the Boring Money Annual Conference, which focused on how the investment industry can improve customer engagement and communications.

Speaking at the event, journalist Lucy Mangan said the industry needed to find a better way to engage with women by understanding how they approached money.

"The first thing we have to do is get women over the psychological hump of investing, rather than saving," 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."

Janine Menasakanian, head of distribution strategy for personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management, said the investment industry needed to be more aware of the key issues for women and change the language that it was using.

She said: "That means demystifying and simplifying, and also making it more emotional."

Ms Menasakanian said the statistics for men were not great either, which showed there was a general need for the investment industry to be clearer about what it does.

Ms Mangan added: "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."

Mirelle Rylatt, chartered financial planner at Premier Pensions & Tax Consultancy, said: "In my experience women tend to take a more cautious approach to investing. However, as women generally live longer than men, it is important for them to invest in assets that are going to have greater growth potential than cash.

"I believe it is a confidence issue which could be helped by early education in financial services. The financial services industry is a male-dominated environment and the majority of the marketing is targeted to male clients. It has far too much jargon, so if this was reduced it may become more accessible to women."