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?
Clearly, the caution signs are there, but the good news is that you can start doing something about it now. If you don’t know much about retirement planning or investing, purchase a beginner’s book, join an investment club, or find a financial advisor that you trust who can teach you more about the topic. It is never too late to start planning and increasing your financial literacy. The statistics concerning women and investing show that we need to do something, and the earlier we start, the better.
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As mentioned, this has been answered many times. From investment bankers I know, most of the media's portrayal is exaggerated. Yes hours are long and you have to be driven to win. But that doesn't mean you go around swearing and yelling in people's faces - usually IBankers do the opposite. You need to have a competitive drive and be a people's person. The industry has many females nowadays just like engineering. You are far from alone if you choose to do IB. If you are acquiescent and fear being a in a tough, competitive environment, then you shouldn't go into IB whether you are boy or girl. Stop assuming girls are somehow weaker than males and therefore are unfit in IB. There are guys and girls who do well and don't do well in IB.
Setting aside popular wisdom to focus on the math, studies of gender differences in investment behavior consistently show that, in the long term, female investors consistently outperform men. This difference in performance is most notable when markets are bad. Why did women fare better? They took less risk; they worried more about losses; they traded less and earned more.
Consider a male slugger who puts $1,000 each into two speculative stocks versus a female lead-off hitter who invests the same amount in two dividend-paying blue-chip stocks. The high-quality stocks each return 10% over the course of the year, leaving the female investor with $2,200. Meanwhile, the male investor hits a home run with one of his picks, which doubles, but strikes out with the other, which loses 90% of its value. His total after a year is $2,100.
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.”
But just having a big shiny goal doesn’t qualify you to open an investment account just yet. After all, if the only thing you needed to have in order to start investing was the desire to have more money, then a lot more people would have investment accounts. (According to the LearnVest and Chase Blueprint study, just 28% of women do, and 40% of men.)
“The GWI program is one of the programs that the institute is implementing to make more female students aware of the careers in investment management,” Mary Scott, associate director of the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing (NDIGI), said of the program. “As we broaden awareness of how intellectually stimulating and rewarding these types of careers can be, our hope is that more females will be interested in pursuing this industry.”
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.
MS. SPELLINGS: --moderator here. Melanne, the table could be turned on this easily and Melanne and I have worked together for many, many years on these issues with President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and on and on and on. And I think that's, as I've listened to Christy and thought about the qualities that we try to engender as women leaders, patience, working with others, listening, being goal oriented, understanding it's for the long-haul, being touched by something personal as Christy was often related to children and women and vulnerable populations. I mean all of those things really are at our core beliefs—as women.
It is definitely doable. I am acquainted with one female at Barclays(some of you might know who I'm talking about) who has managed to wield a massive amount of influence over the company as an associate to where she is more or less a gatekeeper for MBA recruiting. She's very direct, very professional, and very people smart...and she didn't get to where she is by trying to by imitating someone else. She crafted and managed her own unique brand.
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3. Make communication a priority. Some women shut down when it comes to talking about investing because they find the jargon too confusing to understand. But Bast believes that’s your cue to talk more about the life and family issues that drive your investment decisions, not less. “Knowledge really is power, especially when it comes to investing. If your financial advisor isn’t speaking clearly and answering your questions in the way you need, let him or her know. The more you know about your money, the more confident you may feel about your future."
Many women see financial planning as a way to protect against the unexpected, explains Bast. “The problem with concentrating your savings in lower-risk assets, such as cash, is that your money won’t grow fast enough to help fund your retirement and other long-term goals. You should consider investing a portion of your money in assets with the potential for growth. The best way to get started? Understand your tolerance for risk and find an appropriate allocation for your portfolio that allows you to sleep at night.”
And I'm thrilled to be joined by some of our past mentees and current mentors for a discussion really about the power of partnership. You know, I think that there's something really profound going on in our world today, and I think that if you look around the world, and it was echoed in all these discussions that we just had, that women are really reaching the highest levels of leadership. And I think they're getting there and they're realizing that, you know, they came a lot further than they anticipated. They have a lot more power, they have a lot more reach than they ever thought would be possible for them in their lives. And the first thing they think is, "How am I going to give back? How am I going to pay this opportunity forward? Engage more people?" And they don't just want to write a check, they really want to give of their time and their resources. They want to open up their networks.
Barclays’ Lorraine added: ‘Don’t be put off by investment banking programmes targeted at women – make the most of them.’ Lorraine explained that many banks are ‘setting explicit targets to increase the number of women in investment banking’. Barclays, for example, runs events and schemes to engage female university students, and initiatives to help female employees access internal opportunities.
The consensus among most financial professionals is that asset allocation is one of the most important decisions that investors make. In other words, your selection of individual securities is secondary to the way you allocate your investment in stocks, bonds, and cash and equivalents, which will be the principal determinants of your investment results. Figure out your goals and then allocate your assets accordingly.
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"My biggest advice to women who want to save more money is to make more money," said financial expert Nicole Lapin, the winner of GOBankingRates.com's 2015 Best Money Expert competition. "When you stop looking at your financial life as something of deprivation and more of something as aspiration, that's when you actually feel comfortable of taking control of your own finances."
Like anywhere, you'll form friendships and business relationships with the people you gel with best - a lot of these may be males, as there are more males in FO banking than females. There are downsides to being a female in banking, but there are also upsides (the unfortunate reality is there can be downsides to being female in many professional environments; it's not limited to banking).
MS. SMITH: That's fantastic. So, last question; so talk, talk to us about what you've learned through your work, building an organization, and what you would pass along to our entrepreneurs that are in here, our mentors from other countries as you met many of them. We've got representation really from around the world. So, what advice would you leave them with?
Thankfully, things have changed — but not everyone has gotten the message. Today you can invest online, from the comfort of your home, and if you do meet with an advisor, you’re going to see that everyone is trying to make things more accessible, Katchen says. “People know that women control more money than men, and are often the financial decision makers in their household.”
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?
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Now, the down of it is because often those jobs don't pay as well as those in the private sector. So, I think women have been drawn into those roles, but the good of it is get yourself in there, manage, lead, learn, and translate those skills either upward in the, in the public sphere or externally in the private sector. And when I used to work on appointments for President Bush and when he was governor in Texas we used to try to sell people like Andrea that we were going to go from success to significance. And so-- MS. SMITH: And you did.
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Since its debut in 1987, TFS has remained a free, online service that effectively connects students with college funding resources to fuel their academic future. The TFS website also provides financial aid information, resources about federal and private student loan programs, and a Career Aptitude Quiz that helps students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills. TFS Scholarships is a safe, trusted, and distraction-free platform to research scholarships and other funding resources. Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, so nothing stands between students and finding ways to fund their future.
Since the feminine approach to investing has been branded as a losing strategy, let's look at how the men have fared. Men have dominated the financial services world since its inception. They run the big companies, they dominate Wall Street and they control the money, but the empirical evidence suggests that their investment results consistently trail those generated by women. Also, in studies by John Coates (a former Wall Street trader), there is evidence to suggest that a connection between testosterone and risk taking leads to irrational exuberance. Coates notes that "Economists assumed that all behavior was conscious and rational … They were ignoring that fact that signals from the body, both chemical and electrical, affect how we take financial risks.
Looking back, I’d emphasize to never sell yourself short and believe in the value you can add to a client. I never thought my opinions and judgment as a 22-year-old would be valuable to a client (isn’t that what my bosses are for?), but this role elevates you to positions where you will be asked for your thoughts and asked to represent the firm in various client situations.
Thankfully, there’s already been a shift in the market. Over the past three years, Fidelity has seen the number of women investing their money with the firm grow by 19 percent, to more than 12 million. And it seems women know they need to save more — when Fidelity looked at workplace retirement accounts, it saw that women consistently saving a higher percentage of their paychecks than men at every salary level. Women saved an annual average of 9 percent percent of their paychecks, compared to 8.6 percent for men. But there’s still a ways to go to bridge the divide. Here are a few ways to do it.
Despite the attractiveness of the competitive story pitting men versus women in a contest of investment prowess, the difference in their returns is not dramatic. For example, a study in the The Quarterly Journal of Economics reported that "Trading reduces men's net returns by 2.65 percentage points a year as opposed to 1.72 percentage points for women." Clearly, like beating an index, the difference between success and failure is generally a game of inches, not miles. With that in mind, every penny counts, and pennies paid out in fees are pennies that are not working on your behalf. Over the long-term, lower fees can make the difference between a few extra dollars in your wallet or a few dollars that you do not get to take home.
Partly because of this dynamic, she said there's often a career premium for women who are young and beautiful. "You get a lot of beautiful young women in banking who find themselves replaced by a new generation as they get older. - I've seen older women being made to hand their accounts to 22 year-olds. They complain, but they were in that position once - they were the 22 year-old who took another woman's clients. Women don't help each other."