An analysis by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that 32% (over $70,000 billion) of the world's assets are held by women. Each year, women add another $5,000 billion to that wealth. Women are taking an increasingly prominent role in building, maintaining, and transferring wealth. What needs to be done, and what barriers need to be broken down, to further unlock that financial 'power'?
Frank van Beuningen and Veerle Berbers of PYM, the Conscious Investors' Community, and Marianne Verhaar-Strijbos, Director of Private Wealth Management at ABN AMRO, agree on the answer to this question.
"I have trouble with emphasizing typically masculine and feminine," Marianne starts. "By doing so, you unconsciously make gender a limiting factor, but well, women have some catching up to do. Why do only 23% of women invest in stocks? Do they underestimate their capabilities? Do they overestimate the complexity? Lack of self-confidence? Lagging behind in knowledge? In the Netherlands, until 1971, the man was in charge of the marriage. He made the money and the wife got to spend it. In investor terms, the asset allocation. So to nuance; women make a lot of financial decisions but are used to set a goal first."
Bank through a gender lens
Marianne can confirm that gender is a widely accepted theme within the (international) financial world.
Marianne: "At the bank, we are consciously working on 'gender equality' and we also see it a lot around us. Earlier this year we committed to the Women's Empowerment Principles. This requires more than nice words, this requires looking at the entire bank with a 'gender lens'. In addition to our own workforce, for example, we need to look more closely at the needs of female customers. With sharp glasses, we need to look at what may not yet be well taken care of. According to BCG, nearly two-thirds of women feel they are not yet being served well enough by their financial advisors. Not even half have their own financial advisor. It's my priority to increase our expertise about what women want. To know what their specific needs are.
Gender equality, by the way, does not mean that only women benefit from a more equal society. If we promote the role of women, it translates into a more just and healthy society for all. The question is, how can equity contribute to that?”
Listening to all clients
"In terms of investing, women have a different approach than men," continues Frank, founder of Pymwymic, the impact investment cooperative (Put Your Money Where Your Meaning Is Community). "Women, in my opinion, are less interested in getting the highest possible return, but instead focus on how their money is working in the world. That is precisely the strength of women; they work with feeling and not just with reason and ratio." Women need to take the freedom to join in the decision-making about investing in companies that not only make a return but also do something good. So it becomes a topic that parents bring into the conversation with the children. It's fun, that way it becomes a family conversation. And that's essential for kids in learning how to handle wealth.
Women's Wealth Matters
It was the wish of Frank's wife Margareth van Beuningen-McGovern to give women more of a voice and let them be more prominent in the field of investing and investing. Basically, she said: ladies, chest forward, do something positive with your money, show that you have it, let your voice speak, and delve into what you think is important in the world to support with your money. Thus was born the first meeting of 'Women's Wealth Matters'.
Marianne: "Clients are not one big homogeneous group with the same wishes and preferences. Whether they want to invest, do business, finance, or design their legacy. The meeting also made this diversity among women very clear.
Veerle Berbers, co-founder of PYM, the Conscious Investors' Community, together with Frank: "However, there are also barriers and we want to solve them with PYM. Grosso modo women are still frugal, they want to pass on and leave to the next generation. But where is the balance between 'taking home' wealth and 'investing in a better world'? We call this 'the awareness of capital'. PYM can bring people with capital together. They can share experiences with each other and learn from each other, this awareness is our job."
Define your values
ABN AMRO shares that task, Marianne: "A famous quote from the famous French gastronome Savarin is 'Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are'. They also say 'Your values define you'. But do your investments reflect your values? That is what we discuss with clients, but also what is central during Women's Wealth Matters."
Frank and Veerle: "It starts with thinking about what you want to contribute to the world: are those goals hunger, poverty, climate change, or medicine? What do you find most important? That is the 'meaning of money'." Marianne: "Everything revolves around what you want to achieve with the money. Money is a means instead of an end. That means you have to be able to talk to your client about her/his goal, because saving doesn't have an impact. For impact, you have to invest."
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