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Confident female investors challenge perceptions

by wrich
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Women are confident in their retirement prospects, bullish on equities, proactive on investment decisions…and opinionated about advisers

The Embark Investor Confidence Barometer (EICB), conducted by Censuswide for The Embark Group (Embark), a UK retirement solutions provider, has challenged perceptions of low financial literacy and confidence amongst female investors. It found that most female investors* are confident in their retirement prospects, bullish on equity markets, and more willing than men to adapt their portfolio in order to take advantage of market conditions.


Around 70% of women, whether advised or without an adviser, are confident they know how much money they need to meet their retirement plans, are currently saving enough, and will be able to stop working when they wish to.

The latest EICB suggests women are no less confident than men on their retirement prospects and are, in some instances, markedly more confident:

  • 70% of women say that they are currently saving enough to meet their retirement plans, compared to 63% of men
  • 72% of women say they can stop working at the age they wish to, compared to 68% of men.

Reacting to events

Their confidence may reflect a positive outlook on equity markets over the short and long term. 65% expect a rise globally in the next 12 months, 72% believe they will rise in the next 5 years and 70% over the next decade. And, 53% of women expect a rise of 10% or more over the course of the next decade.

Moreover, they are more likely than men to make changes to their investment portfolio based on their outlook on equity markets. More than half (55%) of women said their short-term view on equity markets had led them to change their investment approach in their portfolio, compared with 45% of men. The gap was substantially wider over a 5 year timeframe with nearly half (49%) of women stating that they had changed their approach compared to 40% of men.

Non-advised women are also far more likely than men to seek financial advice, whether for retirement purposes, following a change in financial circumstances such as a divorce or job loss, and in the event of a market crash. More than two-thirds (70%) of women say they would seek advice ahead of or during retirement, compared with half (50%) of men. 67% of non-advised women would seek advice due to a change in circumstances compared with 37% of men.

Advice industry appeal

And, more than two-thirds (67%) agree their adviser understands their challenges, while 60% say their adviser gives them customised advice.

However, as a wake-up call to the industry, two-thirds of women without an adviser (66%) and 61% of women with an adviser agreed that financial advisers need to do more to make their services appeal to female investors. This was particularly the case for women in the age bracket between 35 and 44, suggesting that expectations may be different for younger generations.

In terms of changes that women would like to see, 44% stated that there should be more female advisers, 41% supported the creation of more tailored resources, 37% backed offering bespoke models and better consideration of language used by advisers, and 36% supported better use of technology.

Sara Wilson, Head of Platform Proposition, Embark Group said: “These are fascinating results. There are headlines encouraging women to be more confident investors, but our findings paint a picture of positivity among women. Of course, we are mindful of our participants here – everyone surveyed has significant investable assets and a pension – so a degree of confidence might be expected. However, the results may challenge some perceptions.

“Meanwhile, we can see there is some consensus that the advice industry would benefit from considering how it could better appeal to women. The fact that investors voted fairly evenly for multiple suggestions on how to improve the situation might be a wake-up call for the industry.”