While women investors are on the rise, there is still a gap between the number of men and women are in the investments market. Make sure you’re choosing a firm that will support your financial goals and understand the unique challenges that women face in the industry. Also take a look at the companies that these firms and platforms invest in. Are any of them led by women? Do they support women? While it may not immediately affect the return you get, choosing a firm or platform with a pro-women mindset will help us gain financial equality in the long-run.
MS. ALYSE NELSON: Well hello everyone, I'm Elise Nelson. I'm President and CEO of Vital Voices. Let me just first say how exciting it is to be here at the mothership of Bank of America. I heard it actually called that. Vital Voices, as you know, launched in partnership with Bank of America this really innovative partnership five years ago. So, it's quite special to be back here and to see so many people in this room who were really part of making it happen and looking at Zoe and Susan and of course Pam Seagle, and so many others who just made this a reality.
You also need to work harder sometimes in order to get recognition or get same bonuses. It might also be harder for you to find a mentor at workplace, but again you could solve those problems by working hard, finding mentors outside of workplace or developing mentorships slowly at work through developing your own brand and consistently proving that you are reliable.
MS. CRONSTEDT: So, I, a year after participating in the program, sold my first business and simultaneously, I started a new one based on the knowledge and the tools that were given to me in the Global Ambassadors Program, which was a more successful company, just in short. Which was an online catering company that exists to this day, and that has--
This is a great goal for most of us and can really help put you in a better position to achieve the other resolutions on this list in the future—getting a promotion or a new job, or even changing industries. And even if none of these goals are in your immediate future, acquiring new skills can be a rewarding and fulfilling enterprise on its own and help us feel more empowered and effective in our current positions.
MS. NELSON: All right. Katerina, I want to, I want to come back to you and some of what you were talking about about the power of mentoring and partnership, and also bring together a strand that Melanne was talking about earlier, the idea of needing networks, and how valuable networks are. And one of the things that we've found at Vital Voices, because ultimately what we are is a network of 15,000 women leaders around the world, across different sectors, as well as mentors and others, and what we've definitely seen is that there's something about women being part of a non-competitive and non-hierarchical network, that it encourages women leaders to take risks that they wouldn't have normally taken. Can you talk about, I mean did you have that experience? I mean I know you're sort of a risk-taker by design, as an entrepreneur you have to be. But I'm curious, I mean what's next for you and what has, what has been unleashed through gaining more support and mentoring?
First up, a woman in one of the most male-dominated industries of them all: investment banking. Sure, we've heard the horror stories of 100+ hour workweeks, fraternity-esque hazing of entry-level employees, and of course, rampant sexual harassment. But it's probably not all The Wolf of Wall Street. To get the record straight, we're talking to an entry-level investment banking analyst. 
“TFS Scholarships was inspired by my own father’s experience as an inner-city high school principal, and grew out of the realization that more could be done to support students searching for college scholarships,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “For more than 30 years, TFS has helped students achieve their higher education aspirations by making it easier to find essential funding for college.”
Money is power. For many, it's also an important form of security. Women are starting to achieve equal pay in many jobs and industries, and the ever-narrowing gender pay gap is encouraging a more equal world. But when it comes to accumulating real wealth, women still fall behind. In fact, a new report by Merrill Lynch shows that women can fall as much as a million dollars behind their male counterparts over the course of their lives. The study, done in partnership with Age Wave, a thought leader on population aging, explored differences in how women and men approach investing as well as how their life paths and obligations shape their choices. The study found that women are less confident in managing investments (52%) when compared to men (68%). But that's not the whole story.
“Increasing the percent of women will help teams ensure that they have diversity of thought,” Scott said. “When deciding whether or not to proceed with a particular investment, these teams will be better equipped to think about each opportunity from many different angles. If everyone in the room is the same gender and shares similar educations, backgrounds and life experiences, it can be difficult to fully think through the various opportunities and decisions. Diversified teams leads to enhanced company profitability and better investment performance.”
Take on less risk. Women are more likely to have their savings allocated in a more age-based allocation of investments than their male counterparts. In fact, looking specifically at Fidelity retirement savings accounts over the last three years, the percentage of women allocated appropriately for their age has increased by approximately 40 percent. Furthermore, fewer women have their savings fully invested in equities than men (which could represent too much risk and not enough diversification); and women are more likely to invest in target date funds, ensuring they are well diversified. 

11. Statistics Canada, “Occupation - National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 (693A), Highest Certificate, Diploma or Degree (15), Labour Force Status (3), Age (13A) and Sex (3) for the Labour Force Aged 15 Years and Over in Private Households of Canada, Provinces and Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2016 Census - 25% Sample Data,” 2016 Census (2017).
Says Bourke, “In the first part of 2014, we completed four oil and gas deals totaling $350 million. We found, even in the heart of the oil patch, traditionally known as a male dominated industry, it is more the exception than the rule that both the decision to sell as well as the selection of the most appropriate buyer was a joint decision involving a central female stakeholder. It makes business sense to direct deliberate attention to building an investment banking firm that leverages the talent and experience of the female workforce.”
MS. VERVEER: But I do think as we talk about leadership this is one of those spaces, and one where you can have tremendous impact at the local level, even when you're doing many other things. One of the things Kim and I noticed when we were writing Fast Forward was that women today tend to look at whatever they do, whether it's starting a business, they want a real purpose for that business, whether it's trying to address some kind of a local challenge, that there's this sense of purpose. I really want to make a difference. Are we peculiar that way?
My biggest takeaway from this article is the power of women as money managers, when it comes to both personal finance for their families as well as client assets. Yes, gender equality in the workplace is an important goal, and it is also a really smart business decision. Women need to see themselves in these roles, know they can develop the necessary skills, and then work hard to fill top asset-management positions. I love the advice of all these young women as they begin to feel more confident with their new financial knowledge and consider their future goals. They are all starting to feel empowered. Their advice, coupled with the advice from the New York Stock Exchange executives in this KWHS article: https://whr.tn/2KaCfVM, is inspiring for everyone, regardless of age.
MS. CRONSTEDT: So, I, a year after participating in the program, sold my first business and simultaneously, I started a new one based on the knowledge and the tools that were given to me in the Global Ambassadors Program, which was a more successful company, just in short. Which was an online catering company that exists to this day, and that has--
Whether or not the results are predetermined by biology, the investment approach favored by the fairer gender is a time-tested, traditional approach to investing often referred to as "buy and hold." The strategy is simple: Investors identify a promising investment, purchase it and hold it for a long period of time, regardless of short-term market conditions.
As an analyst, I'm also part of an employee networking group called Junior Women Connect, which organises a range of networking and career events. Last year we organised an event called "Power Dressing 101", which consisted of an evening in an L.K. Bennett store hosted by a professional stylist who advised us on how to dress for work and the impact of our image on people's perceptions of us.
Bostic also serves as a board member of Freddie Mac, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Abode Communities. He is a fellow of the National Association of Public Administration, vice president of the Association of Public Policy and Management, a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, and a research advisory board member of the Reinvestment Fund.
I'd have to agree with the above post. Don't act like a man. You're not , and it just looks weird. But that being said if you're super nice then you'd probably get taken advantage of, so for example, in an interview setting just be yourself. If you are super nice then you probably don't fit in the typical banking environment. After all, you don't want to land a job on the notion of you being someone completely different than you are. You will eventually get tired and want to quit becuase you can't stand to act like someone you're not.
It’s a phenomenon some money experts call “the female financial paradox”: Women are a growing economic force, expected to add $6 trillion in earned income globally over the next five years, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group released in 2013. Yet many women lag behind men when it comes to using those assets to plan and build financial security for the future.
Consider the guidance of a professional advisor. If thinking about saving for retirement overwhelms you, consider working with an advisor to help you set goals and make informed investment decisions. Seek recommendations from friends, or gather a group of friends together to interview potential advisors. Meeting with multiple advisors before making a decision will help ensure you find someone who is the right fit for your needs.

MS. SARR: Absolutely. I will talk about my own area of, my portfolio. So, I deal with economic empowerment for Western and Central Africa, and my role is to help our country offices develop the biggest programs that give more money to the women. Right now we're focusing on agriculture because as we look at all of these African countries we realize that agriculture is a driver of growth, and therefore if we want to empower economically the women we have to make sure that they are involved in agriculture, they are just used as labor.
In recent weeks, Knowledge@Wharton High School began noticing young women on the Wharton campus in Philadelphia, Pa., U.S., who were wearing hats and carrying bags inscribed with three simple words: Girls Who Invest. Since we happen to know lots of girls with this interest – thousands from around the world have participated in our annual KWHS Investment Competition for high school students – we decided to look further into this intriguing GWI sorority. Who were they? Why were they here? And were they truly stock market devotees?
In their 20s, women choose their career path which sets the tone for their future. Equities can be a good investment choice in your 20s, as you can take more risk when you are young. You can choose to invest in Equity Mutual Funds for your long-term goals as Mutual Funds give you the benefit of professionals managing your money. You also need to take a suitable Health Insurance plan at this age. This will take care of your medical emergencies. You must also make sure that you have sufficient Money Market Funds or Liquid Funds to help you during emergencies. This should be the right stage to decide your long-term goals. Plan in such a way that the long-term investments that you make, give you good returns at the right time.

Over the past three years, Fidelity has seen the number of women investing their money with the firm grow significantly—by 19 percent, to more than 12 million. "The good news is many women are putting themselves in the financial driver's seat, taking positive steps to save and invest effectively for their future," said Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. "But there are still many who need to do more. The reality is that saving alone is not enough to even keep pace with inflation, so if you're not investing, you're likely losing money. Taking the next step to ensure that savings are invested properly and generating growth is critical to helping women progress toward their financial goals and live the lives they deserve."
With this in mind, it's concerning that so many women have such a dim view of their money management capabilities. Regardless of education levels, personal or professional achievements, many women still have doubts about their ability to invest effectively. In fact, when asked what financial life skills they wished they learned earlier, the number one answer was "how to invest and make the most of my money." But perhaps women have learned far more than they realize, considering these findings:
Free tools designed for women. Fidelity.com/itstime was designed to provide insights and next steps around the life events that matter most to women, whether you're about to get married, changing careers or caring for aging parents. Available here are talks and workshops, articles, checklists, and other guidance targeted to help navigate financial challenges.
So, we decided that we needed something else to really complement what we were doing from generating this stream of income to then educate them in how to improve their living conditions. Especially my hope is that I can change—and I think we are changing—the lives of the next generation that is their children. So, with the foundation we're working, bringing students from universities in the U.S. and Europe to work with these families on literacy, on preventive health. We run a mentorship program as well—that's my way of paying back what I'm receiving here this week—where we motivate these teenagers to study an undergrad degree, to understand importance of education, to lift them out of poverty and generate opportunities not only for themselves but for their communities.
When it comes to the day-to-day decisions of their bosses, women describe environments that are biased against them. Though some men do report observing bias, far fewer of them see it than women do. Women (9 percent) are about twice as likely as men (4 percent) to say that they see their company’s management withhold opportunity or promotion from women. Women (8 percent) are also about four times as likely as men (2 percent) to believe women are excluded from networking and social opportunities, such as after-work drinks or golf outings.
If you’re the big spender type, the Wally app is just for you. This app not only helps you plan, manage and categorize your finances, it also gives you insight into your spending and saving habits and how you can improve to achieve your financial goals through its algorithm. The downside? The app doesn’t have a desktop money management feature or a blog section to keep you intrigued about money.
Top GWI Takeaway: “An important thing to realize is that there are certain types of financial firms and investment strategies focused on doing some sort of social good. We’ve been learning about ESG investing, which is Environmental, Social and Governance Investing [which refers to three central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of in investment in a business]. That is something directly designed to make things better, but through the use of financial tools. We also found out about foundations and investing for not-for-profits. All of that combined has shown me that there is still a way to be in finance and pursue some form of public service. I was very interested in law and politics from the social-good perspective, and I’m seeing those worlds align with finance.”

Results of this survey are based on an online omnibus conducted among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 2,995 adults comprising 1,496 men and 1,499 women 18 years of age and older. The survey was completed during the period December 1-11, 2016 by ORC International, an independent research firm. The results of this survey may not be representative of all adults meeting the same criteria as those surveyed for this study.
MS. VERVEER: Do you have any kind of view that you formed on your own as to why women are not doing anywhere near as well in the STEM field as you all know, and I'm sure even our visitors from overseas we're not doing anywhere nearly as well in areas like mathematics and science and technology. And even with so many women going into higher education we're not going into fields like engineering and math. What is it about us?
John Bourke, chief operating officer at Allegiance Capital, believes maintaining a diverse workforce is a “winning strategy.” He says, “It seems obvious to leadership here that no particular slice of pie of the global demographic has a corner on the market when it comes to smarts and skills. We have always actively sought out diverging perspectives as a central strategy in arriving at superior results.”
However, after talking to more professionals in the finance field and reading articles like this, I have regained my faith in finance and became a co-leader for the finance club at my high school. My biggest concern is the one depicted in this article: the club has an extreme lack of female members (we only had one last year). As you have mentioned, this is unfortunate as diversity fosters more informed decisions. Similarly, Kelly Loeffler of Intercontinental Exchange, who was quoted in the KWHS article titled “Career Insight: Advice from New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham”, believes that gender should not be a limiting factor for the expression of intellectual curiosity. You mentioned how you felt uneasy in male-dominated classes, and as a male, I never had to go through the same feelings, but I certainly want to change this limiting atmosphere in academic settings. I think your mentioning of Kylie’s Cosmetics is a perfect example of how more female members could allow the male-dominated industry to make more informed and wise investments. Yet even though we recently had a female member take upon a leadership position, many other female classmates I’ve talked told have told me that the finance industry was “disgusting” and filled with greedy, misogynistic men.
J.P. Morgan runs a recruitment programme called Winning Women, which gives female students the opportunity to discover the different areas of investment banking and learn about internships and the roles open to graduates. I recently participated in a networking event for the Winning Women programme, where I shared my experiences with students, and they also had the chance to meet female leaders from the bank and ask them questions about their careers.
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