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.
MARCH 8th, International Women’s Day, always brings a flood of reports about gender inequalities in everything from health outcomes to pay and promotion. But one gap is gradually narrowing: that in wealth. As money managers seek to attract and serve rich women, and as those women express their values through their portfolios, the impact will be felt within the investment industry and beyond.
Janet Cowell’s words mean that the diversity of gender brings us different perspectives. The integration of a large number of women workforces can add fresh blood to the industry. In my opinion, women are conservative in the asset management industry and are not as venturous as men. This more cautionary mindset enables women professionals to manage great assets for the less risky funds, while male professionals may encourager bigger risks. A company without women is like a car without a brake, which will run into risks someday.
This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, hold, or rollover any asset, adopt an investment strategy, retain a specific investment manager or use a particular account type. It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, tax and financial condition or particular needs of any specific person. Investors should work with their financial professional to discuss their specific situation.
MS. NELSON: Can we go a little deeper into the UN and partnerships? Obviously, the UN can't achieve its goals without partnership because that's the reason it was set up. Talk a little bit more about practically, where have you seen partnerships really work? With UN women, at the UN? You know, and has partnerships being highlighted as part of the sustainable development goals helped raise awareness that yeah not one sector can do it alone?
Communicate. If you have questions, your friends and family probably do too. Not only is it time for money to stop being a taboo conversation topic, but ensuring you're on the same page with your loved ones about financial goals and responsibilities can be critical. Fidelity has numerous resources to help have these conversations with parents, partners and kids.
Phil is a hedge fund manager and author of 3 New York Times best-selling investment books, Invested, Rule #1, and Payback Time. He was taught how to invest using Rule #1 strategy when he was a Grand Canyon river guide in the 80's, after a tour group member shared his formula for successful investing. Phil has a passion educating others, and has given thousands of people the confidence to start investing and retire comfortably.
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.
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.
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.
Once I asked my dad a question who is an entrepreneur, “Do you think women are treated differently from men in work field?” He said, “No, as an owner of a company, we explore the full potential of every employee and make sure their talent is best used. Otherwise, why should we hire a person and why do we waste our money?” This dialogue between my dad and I partly illustrates the expectations of an employer — it’s not the gender that matters. It’s the capability that matters. Then, we talked about the status of women in China. We both believe that the status of female employee is increasing. But this doesn’t mean inequity has been put to a stop. Instead, more and more people come to speak out about their unfair experience. Even then, it is still a global problem that women are rejected due to stereotypes.
Women live, on average, five to seven years longer than men (depending on when they were born). Their money has to stretch longer, and if they are married, it is important to note that some of the biggest health care costs are incurred in the year prior to death, so if they survive their husbands, it is possible that their financial resources may be reduced by medical expenses. Married women tend to suffer significant losses in income when their spouse dies.
There’s also a concept I think you should be familiar with. It’s called passive investing. The idea is that it’s smarter to invest across the entire market and then not pay attention to it, than it is to pick stocks or pay someone else to pick stocks. It’s easier and less expensive, and historically it’s been more successful. In fact, Warren Buffett made a $1 million wager that passive investing would beat hedge funds—and he was right. It’s why he advises his heirs to invest passively with their money.
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.
So, it was, it was an amazing experience. We went through her business plan. You know, I have a finance background so most of the work we did was on the finance side, helping her focus a little bit more. She was a social entrepreneur who donated a lot of her time and energy to her community. So, for a year we never physically met. We spent time on Skype and on e-mail. You know, as mentors we just assume that we are giving, but we learn so much from each other, and when Zoe, I can't refuse anything to Zoe, when she reached out and said you know what? " Vital Voices is looking for Global Ambassadors, do you want to donate one week of your time?" So, I'm actually on leave. So, I'm not here for UN Women, I'm here for myself. I thought it was important that as women that we share our experience, that we empower others. That's how we move the needle. As you know, women empowerment we've been talking about it for years. You know? Beijing 1995 when Hilary Clinton said women's rights is human rights, and Beijing plus 20 as we call it, and we are still talking about the same issues. And the power of partnership, you know, for us it's critical that as individuals that we give back, that private sector, banks, also participate in this global agenda. The world has set up some objectives that you might want to Google, it's called Sustainable Development Goals that we want to all reach by 2030. There are 17 of those. If you only have to remember two there's number 5 which is gender quality, and number 17 which is partnership. We cannot do it separately. Public sector, private sector, and of course civil society organizations have to partner.
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.
MS. NELSON: So, Oulimata, I know that you are a Global Ambassador in this program, but you've also participated as a mentor for another program supported by Bank of America, the Cherie Blair Foundation's work with mentoring, particularly online mentoring. Can you talk a little bit about your experiences with both of those programs, first with the Cherie Blair Foundation?
Since the early 2000s RobecoSAM, a sustainable-investment specialist that assesses thousands of public companies on environmental and social criteria, has included measures of gender equality, such as equitable pay and talent management. After realising that in the decade to 2014 firms that scored well on these measures had better returns than those scoring poorly, it launched a gender-equality fund in 2015. Since then it has outperformed the global large-cap benchmark.
Before I started my job, I was more concerned about whether I would find my place here given the image of investment banking in the media over the past few years. But when I joined J.P. Morgan I was surprised by how nice everyone was. The people I work with are really friendly, normal and chilled out, and this is true from the other graduate analysts right through to high-level managing directors who are always willing to take the time to explain things and answer questions. We organise events for analysts and also have lots of networking activities, so it's a very inclusive environment.
This problem may also result from a reluctance to talk about money. Women talk about marriage, kids, college, politics, religion, shopping and sex, but money matters tend to be taboo. “Men have no trouble talking about money, but it’s the one thing that women are hesitant to discuss,” says Zaneilia Harris, a certified financial planner and author of the book Finance ’n Stilettos. “If you won’t initiate that conversation, you’re hurting yourself. Sharing stories about money is a great way to learn.”
Investing itself, we’re in favor of. (You might have picked up on that, since we’re a company named Ellevest.) Especially investing in low-cost, well-diversified investment portfolios. That’s because — we’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it — we really, really need to fix the gender investing gap. Women don’t invest as much as men — we keep 71% of our money in cash (in other words, out of the market). This is part of the reason that we retire with two-thirds the money of men (even though we live longer).
Furthermore, women tend to be more cautious than men. They could be great assets for managing the less risky funds, as well as coming up with solid fixed-income investments. Although it is exciting to risk and watch the stock market volatility, asset management businesses need a “devil’s advocate” on the safer side, which is a great role for a woman to take. That is not to say that women can’t also make risky investments, but that is just the general consensus of psychological and sociological studies that I have read in the past.
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.
So, if you’re eager to make a major job or career change… you guessed it, make a plan. Consider making a list of pros and cons for taking the plunge. If everything in your life is pointing to making a major change, figure out what new goal makes the most sense for you. Take an inventory of your skills and experience, along with your interests and aspirations, and figure out which careers/industries you best align with. Do you have any friends or family who have jobs that sound potentially intriguing to you? If so, ask them more about it. Do your research—the Internet is a great source of information for researching new companies and careers.
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