Break the bias

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is ‘Break the Bias’. Bias is at play on several levels when it comes to women and investing – both in terms of the customers that invest in funds and the people who run them. 

A chart of numbers showing growth of Yes She Can campaign

We see first-hand, the perpetuation of common myths about why so few women invest and the barriers they face. Women aren’t “interested” in investing, they’re not “confident” enough to invest, women are “too risk averse” to make their money work hard for them if they do invest.

But is that really the case?

Our Yes She Can research

Launched in 2019, the initiative set out to find ways of making investments more appealing to women. We had a growing sense that the finance industry was failing women – and initially worked on the assumption that there were barriers putting women off investing. What we quickly realised was that, for most women, investing simply wasn’t on their radars.

87% of women that held no investments had never been encouraged to consider investing.

The need for women to consider investing has never been greater though. The very real gender pay gap and the chasm in pension provision could take centuries to solve at the current pace of change. We wanted to address this issue, not just to move the societal dial, but also because closing the female investment gap would have a real economic and commercial impact on our clients.

There are also wider themes around corporate governance and social responsibility at play here. There’s a clear alignment between our drive to engage women in investing and the need for broader diversity in the industry as a whole. One of the things that we hear is that women see financial services as a predominantly male domain. Not surprising really given that just 12% of the Citywire fund manager database are women.

Our approach to tackling the bias

We launched a programme drawing on strategies used by non-financial services, consumer brands adept at engaging the world’s most powerful consumers, women. We listened to real women across the UK, from all walks of life to understand how any barriers affect their investment behaviour.

We wanted to get women talking about finance in the first instance, to make finance visible to them. How can we gauge if women are disinterested, lack confidence or are averse to risk if we’re not talking to them about finance in the first place? We used technology to reach women in their world, and talked to them in a language they understand.

Through a series of workshops we co-created concepts and developed some simple creative video executions that we then tested with a sample of other women to see what resonated with them.

We ran an extensive survey on attitudes and behaviours, and, recognising the power of social media and understanding the importance of peer-to-peer referral, we also did some in-depth social listening. This insight led us to use micro influencers, rather than finance specialists, to talk to women in their own words and investments.

Our research conclusions

  • Women’s intention to invest increased across the board after watching the female-curated digital stories and 54% said they would definitely “do more”.
  • The stories were rated 4/5 starts and nearly 70% would share
  • Our micro-influencer campaign had 2.4 million impressions and an engaged celebrity follower base of 4m.

But what does this all mean? Well, women don’t feel that financial firms are in their world. We found that advertising and communications targeted at women often reinforce the same bias and tired mantras. But through our methodology we’ve had demonstrable success in prompting the conversation around finance and investment in women’s lives.

There were high levels of intent and engagement off the back of our campaign. It is evident that women’s ambition and confidence doesn’t tally at all with how the industry sees women or communicates with them.

Once women know they are investors, they are just as confident as men, and once encouraged, they are significantly more likely to invest.

From this research we mapped a proprietary segmentation model of seven clusters, based on consumer attitudes and behaviours. We know who these women are, what their intent to purchase is and how they will respond to behavioural nudges.

Implementing our segments to your book can help you understand your audience, shape product development, feed into advice and guidance processes and help you tailor your marketing to women.  

This International Women’s Day will you break the bias and include women in your product design and marketing? You could be changing so many lives and your firm’s value if you grabbed a piece of the $700bn pie waiting for you.

Find out more about our segmentation and how we can help you reach more women.

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We believe that the finance industry can play a significant role in addressing today’s social and environmental challenges. Working collaboratively across the industry, we play our part in the transition to a more sustainable future.

The Wisdom Council

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