Over half of women have never held an investment product

Matt PalframanDirector, Financial Services Research
April 12, 2018, 8:55 AM GMT+0

Lack of knowledge and confidence keeping women from investing, YouGov Omnibus data suggests

Over half of women have never owned any investments, with a lack of knowledge and confidence holding them back, new research from YouGov Omnibus reveals.

The study finds that 52% of women have never held an investment product, compared to 37% of men. Added to that, just one in five women (21%) currently hold an investment, against over a third (35%) of men.

YouGov’s research shows that while a disparity exists, in principle women are open to investing. Over four in ten (45%) agree that investing money is a good idea (compared to 54% of men), while only 10% disagree (the same proportion as men). Indeed, among men and women that currently hold investment products, the average amount of money invested is comparable – with men investing an average of £34,647, while for women the figure is £33,502.

What explains the disparity?

The main drivers of this difference appear to be a lack to confidence and knowledge about investments. While 45% of men say that they would feel confident investing some of their money the figure among women is just 28%.

What’s more, twice as many men (26%) as women (13%) believe they have a good knowledge of investments and the stock exchange. Similarly, while over four in ten men (43%) say they would know how to find suitable investment products if they wanted to invest some of their money, the same is true of only 27% of women.

Investing in the future?

Looking towards the future, seems that banks have much work to do in order to appeal to more women. Just over a fifth (22%) of women are keen to invest more of their money in future, compared to 37% of men. When it comes to the specific issue of guidance from banks, men and women are similar reservation levels, with only 21% of men and 17% of women believing their bank makes it easy for them to understand and investment products.

Women are not averse to investing – indeed, many think it’s a good idea. However, currently a lack of both knowledge and confidence has built a barrier to engagement, which creates a challenge for financial institutions that offer investment products.

Our data suggests when women invest, they do so at similar levels to men meaning that if banks and other institutions can help address issues around confidence and knowledge, female investors represent a sizeable opportunity in a challenging market. With the investment industry under ever-closer scrutiny and increasingly restrictive regulation, it needs to look at placing a greater emphasis on scale. If more women invest and maximise their own wealth, it will allow further growth of the investment market as a whole, which would be a win-win situation for both investors and financial institutions.

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