The importance of Impact Investing is obvious, what’s next?

Corinne Heijn facilitates the Women’s Wealth Matters program, a dedicated space for female impact investors.

Why is the Women’s Wealth Matters program so important?
“Because women matter, and so do their values. Professionally I believe that inclusive thinking most women are taught collectively can be turned into a huge value for investing. From a personal perspective, WWM is important, because I know from experience how confusing and complicated wealth can be. WWM seeks to give women the kind of support network I so desperately was in need of myself.”

What do you consider the biggest hurdle for women specifically, in becoming impact investors?
“Shame. I personally had a lot of that when I first came into money. In Dutch culture, there is so much shame around wealth. We are not supposed to have it, and we are certainly not supposed to talk about it. Amongst female wealth-holders especially, this means a detachment; let the men or the wealth managers handle it.”

“What is worse, women are often kindly nudged to go into charitable work or set up foundations instead of being supported in becoming active investors. Ironically, I find women, as opposed to men, don’t actually need to be convinced of the benefits of impact investing, we just need to be reminded that we can actually do it. Overcoming shame is a big first step.”

What is your impact investing journey? 
“Unfortunately, I came into money in quite a traumatic way, through the untimely death of my father. My financials might have been in the public domain, but my struggles were private. I felt completely alone in navigating the new responsibility of managing this wealth, which was now part mine. Seeking a greater vision for my capital, impact investing allowed me to make inspiring financial choices, ones that embodied my ideals and values. Money is energy -the flow matters as much as the direction of the stream.”

Are women different investors to men?
“I don’t think there are any major differences in how women or men invest, I do think however there is a big difference in how we become investors, and this shapes our choices. According to a recent study on impact investing, two-thirds of women admitted to not feeling heard or understood by their financial advisor. To me, this highlights the discomfort in the space - we don’t feel like we belong.”

“I think our choices are hugely impacted by that; we become more risk-averse, less pro-active and to some extent over-cautious to even engage at all with our wealth. Unfortunately, this isn’t helped by the fact that we don’t create many spaces to build the confidence we need, in order to become the great investors we naturally are. In fact, I have often noticed an aversion in women to attend women-only events. This is problematic because it is exactly that hands-on female-friendly support that builds trust, in the system, in oneself and in others.” 

“Being amongst other women or people who face the same challenges, might highlight our issues and so it is confrontational perhaps, but it also allows us to break through them. Together it’s much easier than alone. I have dedicated the last 25 years of my career to connecting women because I have seen first hand what can happen when we do let go of old judgment and fear. We become magic. So, WWM is not some club to convince women to impact invest. It is a safe space, in which we welcome each other to the party, and then we have one. Changing the world is fun and it’s high time we get in on it.”

How can WWM help?
“In my journey, I have also come to know money as a force for good; something deeply creative. Personally, I never trusted banks. I always worked with independent wealth managers. I wanted to be involved and to feel I had choices. Being able to create that for me made me realise how important financial independence is. This agency - the ability to make one’s own financial choices - will not only change the world of finance but also improve the world as a whole. In practice, this means WWM facilitates the kind of conversations between women, that allow them to translate their values into real investments.”

If you’re interested and a female wealth owner, please join our next Women’s Wealth Matters session.

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