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Women are not a niche market #balanceforbetter

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Standing its ground in New York City’s Financial District, an aggressive, energetic figure draws a crowd. Bronze nostrils flared, horns poised to gore, and tail cracked like a whip, the ‘Charging Bull’ sculpture is a symbol of power and volatility. It’s the stock market personified. But beyond the horns and hooves, there’s one more key detail that’s integral to the metaphor: an over-polished pair of bronze bovine balls. The stock market, according to this image, is for the boys.

 

Is the stock market really just a boys’ club? Of course not!

Investing in stocks and shares should be as unisex as brushing your teeth or going to college. Gender has nothing to do with who can do it or how well they can do it. And yet that’s the way many people perceive investing: one for the boys.

 

This suit-and-tie sentiment is echoed in the language and imagery that many investment platforms and banks still use, consciously or otherwise. It’s echoed in their six-figure sponsorship deals for male-only sports tournaments. And it’s echoed by the audience of the event we held this morning – a discussion and rallying call to better serve women investors – where less than a quarter of bums on seats were male. As Holly recounted to the audience, one of the men who didn’t attend said women’s investments “just feel a bit niche”. Niche? Half the world’s population is a niche? Crikey… 

 

Sadly, the numbers tell a similar story

Female investors aren’t a niche by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re certainly an underserved chunk of the market. 

  • 21% of men have a stocks and shares ISA, compared to only 13% of women.
  • Within these accounts, men have £33,616 on average, whereas women have £22,907.
  • And in their pension pots, men have £99,000 on average, whereas women have £39,000.

It’s madness. Especially when you consider that the UK investment market is missing out on about £115 billion because of it. That’s how much more would be on the table if the same number of women invested the same amount as men. So clearly balance would be better for everyone involved. More financial independence for women. More financial fuel for businesses.


Four big challenges stand in the way 

The way we see it, there are four main things the investment industry needs to do to become more welcoming to women. (Is there anything you’d add? Let us know)

  1. Stop jargon. Just stop it.
  2. Make it feel more personal and relevant
  3. Foster community – investing is very solitary today
  4. Change the way people see ‘risk’ 

We’ve come to these conclusions because that’s what women are actually asking for. They are interested, they’re just not confident. And unless the industry starts communicating with these asks in mind, nothing will get balanced and nothing will get better. So we’re going to help… 

 

It’s time for #NoMoreBull

When we asked women what would encourage them to start investing, the most popular response was ‘if they speak in simple English’ – far more popular than the promise of 15% annual returns. That’s pretty shocking, and goes to show why an end to jargon and bull**** is so important. 

Let’s make a start by calling out the worst offenders: those tricky, technical money words you can’t make heads nor tails of. 

  1. Think of the most confusing/ridiculous investing jargon you’ve experienced
  2. Share how you came across it and how you reacted with #NoMoreBull

We’re curious to find out what you’ve come up against. And to figure out how we can help both you to brush up on the lingo and the industry to tear down the barriers. See you on social.

#NoMoreBull on Twitter

#NoMoreBull on Facebook

'Women are not a niche' was an event hosted by Boring Money, The Times
and The Times on Sunday, and Publicis Sapient on 7th March 2019. 

The panel included Holly Mackay, Catherine Newman and Bradley Gamage.

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