Women’s investment beliefs are a huge untapped opportunity — report

Financial sector fails to capitalise on women’s RI ambitions.

The financial sector is missing a “huge untapped” opportunity by overlooking women’s desire to invest in line with their beliefs and values, according to a report by Moxie Future – the responsible investment platform dedicated to women investors.

It urges the global financial industry to recognise women’s aspirations around responsible investing and offer better tools, products, solutions, and advice.

Women currently control around $39tn (€31tn) of the world’s wealth.

The report Understanding Female Investors: Women Using Capital to Change highlights the global importance female investors place on investing responsibly: it found 83% of women care about where their money is invested, 69% feel a sense of urgency to invest responsibly, and 63% are motivated to be responsible investors.

Women in China showed the greatest interest in responsible investing, which the report attributes to the fact that they face more visible challenges – particularly environmental ones.

Poverty, income inequality, healthcare, and climate change are causes that matter most to women across all the markets analysed in the research.

Despite this interest, however, the report also found that – with the exception of the US – over half of the women surveyed are not receiving any form of professional financial advice. This, it argues, demonstrates that women are not adequately understood, sufficiently catered for, or capitalised upon by the financial market.Founder Jessica Robinson, former Asian Head for the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), stated: “While our study has found that women are generally positive about responsible investing, it has uncovered the practical difficulties that they face when committing their money, not least a perception among women that the financial services industry is failing to offer advice that aligns with their goals and interests.”

Moxie Future surveyed 2,536 women in five markets: Australia, China, Germany, UK, and US.

Last month, AP2 – the second of Sweden’s four state pension buffer funds – was named as an investor in the World Bank’s C$1bn gender-equality social bond. The bond – by far the largest of its kind – is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and seeks to promote economic growth and reduce poverty through the empowerment of women and girls. The World Bank did not elaborate on how it chooses to allocated proceeds, and the SEK336bn (€34bn) pension fund did not disclose how much it invested in the issue.

It was also announced that US ‘gender lens investing pioneer’ Pax Ellevate Management’s Global Women’s Index Fund has outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI World Index for the calendar year 2017. Its institutional class shares returned 25.1% and its individual class shares returned 24.9%, outpacing the MSCI World Index return of 22.4%. The Fund invests in the Pax Global Women’s Leadership Index, the first index to rate companies based on their advancement of women into senior positions.