Women are more risk averse when it comes to investing, finds biggest UK study into wealth

Eleanor Steafel
Tamara Gillan, founder of WealthiHer - WealthiHer

Leaders from Britain’s biggest financial institutions have pledged to make the finance industry a better place for women following a revealing report on how women approach wealth.

Some of the City’s biggest firms and major international banks have thrown their weight behind The WealthiHer Network — an initiative to help women grow and protect their wealth.

Backed by banks and insurers including Barclays, HSBC and JP Morgan, WealthiHer will showcase the rise in women’s wealth, and highlight the ways women approach money differently to men, both on a personal and professional level.

It comes in the wake of the Telegraph’sWomen Mean Business campaign, which has fought to get better access to funding for female founders, who typically receive less than 10 per cent of start-up funding in this country.

The Telegraph’s campaign recently inspired the Rose Review, commissioned by the Treasury and released last month, which for the first time demonstrated the scale of the barriers facing women who want to start their own businesses. The review prompted a new initiative whereby investors, banks and other lenders in the UK will now be asked to publish how much funding they provide to female-led businesses as part of a new voluntary investor code.

The WealthiHer Network has since commissioned the UK’s biggest ever study into the female experience of wealth.

The report reveals that women are far more risk averse when it comes to investing, and overwhelmingly believe the role of wealth is to provide for their family and to bring security and comfort.

Clare Balding is an ambassador for Investec Private Banking, a WealthiHer founding partner Credit: Owen James Vincent

59 per cent of the 2,542 people surveyed said the role of wealth was to provide for your family, offer security and comfort.

For nearly a quarter of women (23 per cent), wealth symbolises freedom and independence.

Meanwhile, the report found that “money for money’s sake” doesn’t resonate with women, with only five per cent viewing wealth as a defining marker of success.

The institutions which have thrown their support behind WealthiHer have committed to “driving change from inside” to make the industry more accessible for women.

Wealthiher co-founder and former JP Morgan head of female client strategy Lauren von Stackelberg said: “I’ve worked with countess female entrepreneurs who have told me time and time again that the banks just aren’t catered for them.

“I was tired of hearing them ask ‘why am I the only woman in the room?’– so we’ve decided to change.

“That’s why we’ve set up the Wealthiher Network – to champion female entrepreneurs and clients, so they are in the club – not just the girls club.”

The network (which is backed by high net worth individuals including Clare Balding and Dame Stephanie Shirley) has pledged to make the industry more open and accessible by limiting the amount of jargon used in financial services. It also aims to lobby to improve financial education for women, and get more women into top finance roles.

Co-Founder of the WealthiHer Network and entrepreneur Tamara Gillan said: “We’ve found that women believe financial performance is important, but personal goals are paramount. For women, wealth is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

“We will work together with our partners to bring the necessary changes needed, to ensure that women are better served and championed.”

WealthiHer's founding partners are: Brown Advisory, Barclays Private Bank, Brewin Dolphin, Investec Private Bank, HSBC Private Banking, JP Morgan, Julius Baer, Chubb, Close Bros Asset Management, C5, Kleinwort Hambros.