International Women’s Day: women taking control of their financial future


Are the historical gaps that women have faced in investing and financial matters are being addressed?

This International Women’s Day, specialist financial services research Investment Trends is considering the extent to which the historical gaps that women have faced in investing and financial matters are being addressed.

More women are investing and taking control of their financial future than ever before

The latest research from Investment Trends shows a significant increase in the number of Australian female online investors, with their numbers doubling from 76,000 to 150,000 between 2013 and 2018.

“The twofold increase in the female online investor population over the last five years shows that more women are building their wealth and moving towards an independently secured financial future,” said Suzie Toohey, Global Head of Client Service and Sales at Investment Trends.

“While females are joining the active online investor population in Australia at increasing rates, there’s a very long way to go before we reach parity as women still represent only 20% of Australia’s online investors,” explained Toohey.

ETFs and ESG factors resonate with the female investor population

ETFs are playing an important role for female investors. Among the Australian online investor population, the proportion of females who invest in ETFs increased more than threefold in the last five years from 7% to 25%.

“The ability of ETFs to provide convenient, low cost access to a diversified investment portfolio resonates strongly with female investors across Australia, giving them an efficient way to build a core portfolio without needing to pick individual stocks,” said Toohey.

Investment Trends research also reveals the importance of ESG factors to female investors. When it comes to their investment selection process, 29% of women say it is ‘very important’ that their portfolio contains companies that have good ethical, social, environmental and governance standards, compared to 19% for male investors.

“The growing number of ESG investment products in Australia will certainly give investors, women and men alike, more choices that align with their investment philosophy,” said Toohey.

Financial literacy levels must be lifted

On the road towards retirement there exists a wide gap in confidence and affordability for Australians. Only 22% of those aged over 40 say they feel confident they can fund the lifestyle they seek in retirement and this proportion is lower among women (14%).

“It is vital to lift financial literacy levels and retirement preparedness across the country, especially considering the mounting challenges faced by Australians in building their wealth, planning for their retirement and affording a reasonable lifestyle throughout their retirement,” said Toohey.

“Australians have access to a vast range of online tools and resources to learn about investing and money matters, but time and time again, our research shows they want more support to take control of their financial wellbeing,” added Toohey.

“While more women are investing and taking control of their financial future than ever before, the gap between the independent financial security of men and women remains too large, and the wealth management industry must continually increase its focus on delivering products and services that work for women, and work for them at every stage of their life – young, middle aged or mature; single, partnered or widowed,” said Toohey.

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