Best Advice: “A lot of young people are told to do what you’re passionate about. I say do something that challenges you. Don’t’ think about it too much. I tend to overthink about whether I really like something. Nothing is going to be this absolutely perfect fit. But as long as you’re learning, you’re going in the right direction. Get on a path and start learning as much as you can. When you’re not learning as much anymore, then it may be time to take a different path. I still have a lot to learn in the finance field. It would not do me justice to shy away right now because I’m just beginning to learn.”
MS. SARR: For me, it's funny because the most, the most impactful mentor I ever had was an American gentleman by the name of David from Texas, had he's been my biggest supporter, and he died in a plane crash in Texas two years ago, but he's been following me and even sometimes when I didn't believe in myself he gave me huge responsibilities as a CFO of a multi-million-dollar business. That was way before I joined the World Bank or the UN. But so, mentoring is extremely important. So, my ask tonight is for the men to really be our champions. We want them to be our he for she and say to other men I stand by my sister, I stand by my wife, I stand by my daughter. That's my first ask. My second ask is for the other women, you know, we tend to shy away sometimes from the activism but you just have to realize that you have a mandate. If every woman voted for a woman we will have plenty of women presidents around the world. So, you really, you really have a mandate to represent and to know that you are really, when you're sitting on that board meeting, when you're about to make, click that button that you're doing that on behalf of millions and billions of women around the world. They say that if every woman made a jump today we will have an earthquake. So, that's how powerful we are.
Stocks. They represent a part ownership in a company or corporation, also known as business equity. Basically, when a company performs well, the stock tends to increase in value. Stocks tend to be more volatile investments, meaning they can give you a high return on your investment long-term but tend to have larger swings in value in the short-term.
Many companies in the financial sector are also guilty of perpetuating a male focus, Mr Tsivrikos adds. “The language and visual aspects of investing are still very male-dominated – even things such as bank notes, which have more images of men on them. The more we have female figures on money and as visual components in the world of finance, the more they will be engaged.
Simply put, women don’t invest as much as men do. And they don’t invest as early as men do, either. Of all the assets women control—both inside and outside their portfolios—they keep a full 71% in cash, according to a survey by BlackRock, whereas men hold 60%. Cash may feel like zero risk, but it also has zero potential to grow as stocks do over time. And even with low inflation, the purchasing power of that cash will decline over time. So the price of certainty you get with cash is high.
MS. VERVEER: It's been part of our journeys. But I often think that women may not think about this being a place for them, not just running for office, elective office, which is probably the hardest challenge of all if one looks at any of the data out there today, but certainly service at the national level, at the local level, school boards, town collectives that come together to solve problems. This has obviously been a huge reward in your life. You've demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. Help us understand why this is a real opportunity for women and the rewards of this.
"Taking just one step can break the inertia holding many women back," said Taussig. "Whether you're just getting started building a plan, looking to become more active in managing you investments, or determining how to make your savings last through retirement, commit to following through with one new step toward that goal. In most cases, you'll find you're off and running. And there is no shortage of resources to help."
Many women reserved their ire for the "F" word: family. Male bankers with families are feted as breadwinners, said one. "There's still the assumption - often made by senior bankers with stay at home wives - that a woman's income is the secondary income," she said. In reality, this often isn't the case: "Almost all the senior women I know in finance have househusbands, but they're not going to broadcast that fact."
We spoke to women working across U.S. and European investment banks about their reaction to the figures. Some were resigned and described them as as a fact of life. Others agreed with Goldman - that the UK government isn't comparing like with like because a high proportion of women in finance occupy non-front office jobs like personal assistants. Others, however, were angry. And the reasons for their anger weren't always those discussed in sanitized accounts of women's grievances.
This plays out in a number of different ways, explains Bast. “Some women save for their children’s college education before their own retirements. Others give generously to loved ones today, helping them to buy cars, houses and other large-ticket items.” However, Bast warns that there may be a high price to putting short-term needs in front of long-term goals.
Fidelity research among professional women across the country shows there's no shortage of interest in learning more about financial management and investment choices, with over 90 percent saying they want to learn more about financial planning8. For many, this stems from a need to play ‘catch up,' with a majority reporting a lack of opportunity to learn financial skills earlier in life.
I also had the opportunity to speak with a number of Allegiance Capital’s women business development and investment banker vice presidents. While they are all bright, enthusiastic and energetic women, the VPs come from very diverse backgrounds. Diversity is something both the company and the women value, and it’s apparent throughout the organization.
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One sage piece of investment advice that I would pass on to anyone is that regularly saving small amounts into the stock market over the long term is the best way to achieve steady growth in investments and ride out peaks and troughs. Ideally, this should be done tax-efficiently through a pension or ISA, all of which are designed to take regular monthly savings.
MS. NELSON: Lots of great, great advice. I think you know often times people underestimate the power of mentoring and think oh that's sort of soft, but actually what I have seen in 20 years of working with Vital Voices is that it's a strategy, it works. My mentor here, she always hates that I acknowledge her, but my mentor here Melanne, I know I wouldn't be in the job that I'm in without her. And I think that mentors are the people who don't just pull you up, but also are the ones that are willing to stand behind you and believe in you, maybe even sometimes as you said, you know, before you believe in yourself.
Several studies have shown that companies with women in senior positions perform better than those without. Although this is correlation, not causation, to an investor that distinction should not matter. If diversity in an executive team is a proxy for good management across the company, a gender lens could be a useful way to reduce risk. If a business is tackling gender-related management issues, says Amy Clarke of Tribe Impact Capital, the chances are that it is dealing well with other risks and opportunities.
Younger men are far more likely to invest according to their values than their fathers were; 81% of millennial men in Morgan Stanley’s survey were interested in sustainable investing. And though fewer American men than women say they want to invest in companies with diverse leadership, the share is still sizeable, at 42%. If gender-lens investing is truly to take off, it will have to appeal to those who control the bulk of wealth—and that is still 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.