How to support and empower women in financial issues has been a conundrum that has long troubled the financial sector, particularly when it comes to investing. Despite evidence pointing to the fact that women are often more successful investors, they are less likely to invest than men. The number of female investors is certainly growing – women opened some 892,000 stocks and shares ISA accounts in the last tax year, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. But that’s still far fewer than 1.1m investment accounts opened by men in the same period. Studies point to confidence and time as being barriers that hold back potential female investors.
But when it comes to ethical finance, the evidence suggests that women are key to its future growth.
Triodos Bank’s latest Annual Impact Investing Survey, added further fuel to this argument. Our research found that there is more desire among women for their money to go towards good causes: 58% of female investors would like their investments to support companies that contribute to making a more positive society and sustainable environment, compared to 53% of men. Additionally, 57% would move their investments if they discovered that their money was being invested in companies causing social or environmental damage, versus 53% of men.
‘There is a clear demand among women for investments which not only make financial sense but also benefit the world around them.’
At Triodos we’re committed to harnessing this appetite for ethical finance, by offering sustainable, transparent and purpose-driven types of investment. There is a clear demand among women for investments which not only make financial sense but also benefit the world around them. Female investors look set to be a driving force for the future growth of the ethical investments market, as they increasingly recognise the power of money to be a powerful tool for change.
Natasha, a 37-year-old environmental campaigner living in East London, has been investing with Triodos since 2013. She opened her first investment account with the bank after deciding to use her disposable income to encourage positive change. For Natasha, it was the fact that she could make financial returns, while also benefitting society and the environment, which led to her investment decision:
“My primary concern was to find a bank that was working for positive social and environmental change. That said, more evidence is pointing to the fact that responsible investing also gives higher returns. For me it’s a win-win that my money is being used in a way that benefits both society and me financially.”
Natasha, like many other women (according to Triodos’ recent research), has had her confidence in the banking sector knocked by past financial instability, and was keen to put her money into something that would offer greater transparency: “The financial crisis made everyone aware of the risks that were being taken in the banking sector. It was probably around that time that I lost confidence in the banks and I began trying to learn more about the banking sector and how my money was used. It took this event for me to engage with the financial system and understand how I could use my money for positive change.”
Jacqui is a 68-year-old retired nurse from Bristol who has travelled the world on her motorcycle. She has a Triodos current account, as well as investing through a Stocks & Shares ISA. Jacqui chose Triodos because she was looking for an ethical alternative to banks that invest their customers’ money in arms. Like Natasha, she felt it was important to make sure her money was going to important, innovative projects which would benefit the future of the planet: “I was particularly attracted to the word ‘pioneer’ in the name of the fund. I like the idea that my savings could be the catalyst for someone to kick start a renewable energy project somewhere in the world. I’d like to be there to support that.”
With SRI funds, capital is at risk and the value of an investment can fall as well as rise, income is variable and not guaranteed, and individuals may get back less than invested.
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