The number of women in the fintech space has grown over the last year, and while this is an achievement, so much more can still be done to ensure this is not just a trend that fades away, but a continuous change that helps diversify and make the financial industry more inclusive.
Looking to highlight some of the good things women are doing in MEA, whilst highlighting how they can further be empowered, the Women in Finance initiative has been launched by ACCA, the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants in the Middle East.
More encouraging news has come from StashAway as the company announces less than a year after its launch, nearly half of its clients identify as female.
ACCA launches Women in Finance initiative to support women in the Middle East
ACCA, the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants in the Middle East, has launched Women In Finance, its year-long initiative to support, empower and enable women in the financial industry across the Middle East.
Women in Finance is a strategic, focused project that seeks to address the career issues and challenges facing women at every stage of their career, through a curated series of events, resources, mentoring and networking initiatives throughout the next 12 months.
Just eight per cent of chief executives globally are women and just three per cent of the CEOs in financial services are female. Women In Finance kicks off with a networking event ‘Lessons from Business Legends’ on June 16th, and is to be attended by leading figures from business and finance.
Key speakers include Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, and Cynthia Corby, partner, COO and transformation and strategy leader at Deloitte. Joining ACCA’s regional head, Fazeela Gopalani, will be: David Mackenzie of Mackenzie Jones Middle East, Racha AlKhawaja, CEO of TPL Investment Management, Sam Achampong, regional head of CIPS Middle East and Adam Ashcroft, CEO of The Advantage Coach.
“We are aware that more needs to be done to ensure that the number of women entering the finance profession continues to grow,” says Fazeela Gopalani, head of ACCA in the Middle East. “Women In Finance is part of our ongoing efforts to support this. While the number of women in finance is growing in the region, it is still far below an even representation. ACCA goals align with the UAE’s vision for gender parity and underscores its notable achievement as being one of few countries internationally to have equal numbers of men and women in their government cabinet.”
StashAway Insights 2022 report shows encouraging signs, but more needs to be done
StashAway is making rapid pace in closing the gender investment gap. Clients who identify as female now make up 40 per cent of StashAway’s new client base in the Middle East, up from 16 per cent from its launch in November. Compare that to Singapore, which took five years to reach gender parity from 17 per cent of female investors at launch.
The finding comes from the company’s annual report, StashAway Insights 2022, which collates investment behaviour data from its client base across the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Key observations from the report also revealed that:
- Women tend to choose lower-risk portfolios compared to men. While lower-risk investments may experience less short-term volatility than higher-risk portfolios, in the long term, they’re less likely to produce greater financial rewards.
- Women check their investments 1.5 times less than men, making them more consistent investors. StashAway data shows that those who check their investments frequently are more likely to react impulsively to short-term market volatility. This can often result in investors withdrawing their funds from the markets prematurely.
- Women are more likely to stay invested over the long term. Staying invested over the long term helps investors reap compounded returns and benefit from long-term market growth.
- However, although women tend to show long-term, consistent investing behaviours, not enough of them are investing. Almost 60 per cent of women aren’t engaged in investing or retirement planning, and 58 per cent defer their long-term financial planning to their partners.
Nandini Joshi, chief operating officer, says: “It’s imperative for women to take charge of their financial well-being, as they’re more likely to live longer and take time off work to look after their families. Closing the gender investing gap is one of the most impactful ways we can improve wealth equity. StashAway strives to do that by providing access to high-quality, affordable, and intuitive wealth management for everyone.”
Ramzi Khleif, general manager, StashAway MENA adds, “The results from StashAway Insights 2022 are highly encouraging for investors in the Middle East – but it’s just the start. That’s why we’re maintaining a strong focus on providing free financial education. One way we’re doing this is through She Invests, our focused initiative for women, which covers topics ranging from personal finance and investing basics to crypto and NFTs.”