This year International Women’s Day celebrated its 111th official anniversary since the inaugural recognition in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, with Australia joining in 1928. Whilst we have come a long way in the struggle for equality, there is still a long way to go especially on a global level.
I’m sure we all know the ethical reasons as to why this day, and what it stands for, is important, but there are many other reasons too. One I found particularly interesting was a study released half way through last year that concludes, for the companies in the ASX 200, having a female CEO led to a 5% increase in the company’s market value. The study can be found here.
Here at FIIG it’s often the case that we deal with the man in the relationship (in fact in our Perth office it’s split where the main contact is 82% a man, 16% a woman and 2% discussed with both parties together), albeit often we know that in the background both parties are making the decisions.
It’s really nice to see that the sentiment is changing slightly as I’ve noticed a recent trend of husbands trying to get their wives more interested and involved, encouraging them to come along to our portfolio review meetings or client functions we hold (pre-COVID-19).
I think this is really important as life expectancy statistics show that females will outlive males so having an understanding of how their investments work and a pre-existing relationship with their investment manager makes an extremely difficult period of time a touch easier.
Whilst studying behavioural finance at Wharton I learnt of an interesting study that measures many areas of life including investing. The study found that the highest investment returns go to single women.
Regardless of this I wouldn’t say my conversations differ in anyway when discussing different bond opportunities and ideas between male or female clients. Differing views mainly stem from different backgrounds, industries they have worked in, or places they’ve lived or recently (also pre-COVID-19) travelled to.
In Perth we recently started supporting the Women in Finance Network which is backed by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society. They had noticed a trend of proportionally higher numbers of females studying finance and commerce but not actually ending up working in those same industries.
They have started up networking events focused at bringing students and organisations together to try and increase the portions of females in the finance sector. We can proudly say that our Perth office at the moment has a 50:50 split.
I thought I would leave you with a quote of a female who I’ve come to really admire over the past 12 months “To me, leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge, or the thing that is missing in the discussion and trying to build a consensus from there.” Jacinda Ardern.