Like Olivia Ott’s, my perception of asset management and finance is not an extremely positive one. Although I really like economics and do consider going into finance, I feel like it is still a male-dominated industry. Sheryl Sandberg says that we women have to “lean in” in the workplace, but that is easier said than done. Even in school, I feel uneasy to speak up in a class dominated by boys, imagine the same scenario, but in the workplace!
I think the summer curriculum of this nonprofit organization is very helpful. It mentioned that there are much fewer women professionals than men in the financial market. This may be due to the industry’s prejudice against women. The industry tends to consider women have less advantages than men, or women have more commitments not only to work, but also to their families. Some of these thoughts are true, but some are not. Women need more mentorship and empowerment. As the articles mentioned above, these students brought not much understanding before the camps. After the camps, however, they learned about, and mastered financial knowledge and tools. This learning process will benefit and illuminate their own future.The potential of improving women’s financial knowledge is very big. But the existing problem is that women just are not getting the right guidance and empowerment. For example, these teenagers. They didn’t have much financial knowledge. But through this project, they started to be familiar with finance, and understand finance. With a more positive understanding of money, their life may be improved .
MS. TURLINGTON BURNS: --but we have incredible partners who in Haiti, you know, we're training our fourth class of skilled birth attendants there in the Central Plateau. In Guatemala, there's an incredible program called Corazon del Agua, and we support them. Their first graduating class of a three-year—first midwifery accredited program. The second class is underway now. I mean, each of those providers will deliver 200 babies a year, potentially. The ripple effect of investing in a woman is just, you know, I see it daily.
One of my favorite African proverbs says that if you want to go fast go it alone, but if you want to go far go together. And that's certainly what we're going to be talking about on this panel today. I'm thrilled to be joined by first Oulimata Sarr. She is a Regional Advisor for economic empowerment of women with UN Women. UN Women is the UN agency responsible for women's, responsible for women's empowerment, economic, political, and otherwise. Next to her is Katerina Cronstedt. She is a serial entrepreneur from Russia. She in my opinion, reading her bio, has led many lives, fit so much in, and she is currently the founder of Bankatering, and we'll hear a little bit more about that in a minute. And finally, you've already met Christine Katziff from Bank of America. She is the Global General Auditor. It's great that you have time to join us, that sounds like a really big job.
Being a diverse and inclusive company is essential to our ability to meet the needs of our clients, communities and employees. As a part of this, we empower women to make meaningful contributions within our company and in our communities. We have strong representation of women at all levels and we are focused on attracting, retaining and developing our diverse talent. We also recognize that women play a vital role in driving economic growth, and we have many partnerships to connect women entrepreneurs to mentoring, capital and other tools that will advance their businesses and make significant contributions to our global economy.
What I think that Cowell meant by the second part – that “getting to the result is harder” – is that the argument she poses is mostly true in theory; studies have indeed shown that diversity of hiring increases welfare, and specific to the asset management industry, portfolio returns. However, we have not seen enough industries and businesses having taken action towards this- which makes it hard to get to the “result”. Moreover, more diversity means more diverse opinions too, which might make it hard to reach decisions. This obstacle is natural, and its difficulty will depend on the temperaments of the people involved as well as the company’s culture.
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?
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.”
The lack of confidence carries a big cost. For instance, more young women than young men defer retirement planning in their 20s, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. They take Social Security early, cutting their lifetime benefits. And financial advisors have long noted that wives often defer to their husbands, even though research shows that generally speaking, women are better investors than men.
You will find that the majority of older women in the industry are more on the b**chy side. It may have a lot to do with the fact that when they started out, there were almost zero women, so they felt pressured to be a certain way, and they're personalities may have rubbed off on the women below them... etc. But just remember that you can do a GREAT job and still have fun on the job. It doesn't have to be miserable.
You'll have decent QoL, bearing in mind you're in a services industry where you're at the mercy of the whims of your clients. And it depends on your goal. If you want to do IBD for a career, it'd be simple enough to get into a group with solid QoL and still pays well. If you're looking to get experience and exit to private equity/HFs/VC, you'll want a group that's active and gives you plenty of execution experience ie: you'll get crushed. IB at the Associate+ level is very different from Analysts because you'll be on track for a longer tenure. All analysts ditch.
But do women invest in the same way as men? There is little recent data. However, historical surveys have shown that men are generally more cavalier about risk than their female counterparts. A University of California study called Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investment found in 2001 that women outperformed men in the market by one percentage point a year because, they said, men were much more likely to be overconfident and make rash decisions that cost them money.
Anyone who wishes to invest in firms that benefit women who are not employees will quickly find that there is as yet no systematic way to measure broader “gender impact”. Even inside firms, data are lacking. “We need to move beyond just counting women and start taking into account culture,” says Barbara Krumsiek of Arabesque, an asset manager that uses data on “ESG”: environmental, social and governance issues. It is urging firms to provide more gender-related data, such as on attrition rates and pay gaps. Just as its “S-Ray” algorithm meant it dropped Volkswagen because the carmaker scored poorly on corporate governance well before its value was hit by the revelation that it was cheating on emissions tests, in future it hopes information about problems such as sexual harassment could help it spot firms with a “toxic” management culture before a scandal hits the share price.
Define your goals: Get to the heart of what's important to you by thinking critically about investment goals. Sabbia mentioned preparing for personal retirement, saving for children's educational needs, or leaving a charitable gift for the next generation as potential goals. She also mentioned a key difference in how women invest. "While women care about performance, they also look for their investments to align with their values, goals and priorities," Sabbia said. "In fact, more than half of women investors are interested in or engaged in impact investing, generating financial returns along with social returns." Sabbia mentions that whether it's for your own family or a meaningful cause to help others, having clear goals that link to a clear strategy is key to success. And the ripple effect from that empowerment could extend far beyond your own backyard. Increased participation in investing could benefit communities overall. "If more women can actively take control of their financial future all along the way, it would not only benefit them, but also their families and our society overall,” said Maddy Dychtwald, co-founder and senior vice president of Age Wave.
It can be a very hard line to walk, and you're constantly searching for balance in literally every aspect of your personality (be fun, but don't be TOO fun; don't get easily offended, but don't internalize the shit that really does upset you; be assertive and don't let people talk over you or dismiss your ideas, but don't come off as bitch so make sure you modify everything you say by making it seem like a question or a suggestion, etc etc etc). It's not so bad at the junior levels, but I think you can definitely see and feel it more as you get older.
It also may make sense to refinance your mortgage, if you can lower the interest rate on your home loan enough for it to be worth the upfront cost and the time suck it can take. Usually it’s only worth exploring if you plan to stay in your house long enough to pay off the fees from the new loan and you can get a rate at least 1% to 2% lower. (Refinancing is something to look into right now, by the way, before interest rates go up again.)
7. Plan for retirement. You should prepare for that time when you will no longer be working and collecting a regular paycheck. Keep in mind that the earlier you start, the longer the money can benefit from compounding. So if you don’t have a retirement fund already in place (for example, a 401(k) or an IRA), start one immediately. Read 401(k) Basics and 10 IRA Strategies to get started.
Imagine what could happen if more women became financially literate and spread that knowledge to their networks of other women. The possibility for increasing awareness is tremendous. Knowledge is most definitely power, so take this information and arm another woman in your life with it by sharing it via email or facebook. She may cringe initially, but in the long run, she will thank you.
MS. TURLINGTON BURNS: Yes, I did finish high school, thankfully. And then that made it a little bit easier, and then I went to NYU and studied Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy, which actually also plays a role culturally in the work that we do now. And then later, once I became a mom, I went back to school for Public Health. So, I did do a little bit of advocacy before going back to school or during the first time I went back. My father had lung cancer and I had been a smoker in my early 20s, and so my first public health—I know, and I have a grandfather from North Carolina and tobacco—
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Knowledge shortfall. In truth, women do appear to be less knowledgeable about investing than men are. A 2015 study by Financial Finesse found that 67% of women answered yes when asked whether they have “general investment knowledge regarding stocks, bonds and mutual funds,” compared with 84% of men. And the figures don’t just represent women’s lack of confidence, says Kathie Andrade, president of personal advisory services at TIAA. The financial-services firm asked men and women a series of questions about bonds, asset allocation, inflation and interest rates and found that men scored considerably higher overall.
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