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2019 WealthiHer Report - Executive Summary

Financial performance is important but personal goals are paramount, WealthiHer Network

By 2025, 60% of Britain’s wealth will be in the hands of women, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. “Yet women feel less understood and unwelcomed by the [finance] industry,” said Tamara Gillan, co-Founder, The WealthiHer Network, and Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Cherry London, in her foreword to ‘Understanding the Diversity of Women’s Wealth’, the network’s 2019 report.

The study revealed that confidence remains a barrier to women engaging more actively with the industry, with a third saying that they had been patronised and 21% claiming their self-esteem is below average, a number that increased further for divorcees.

“Our research points us towards crucial differences between men and women,” said Ms Gillan. “Women believe that financial performance is important, but personal goals are paramount. For women, wealth is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Wealth means creating opportunities, independence, and providing for those we care about. Irrespective of socioeconomic class, there is an overwhelming desire by women for wealth to provide meaning.”

According to the report, most women believe the role of wealth is to provide for family, security and comfort; for nearly a quarter of women, wealth is about freedom and independence; while two-thirds signalled ethical investments a high priority, a proportion that jumps to 83% for women who have inherited their wealth.

While 71% of women surveyed believe men are more willing to take financial risks, a small sample study found women willing to invest in high risk companies such as early stage businesses, as long as they had as much information as they wanted, stated the report.

Focus group sessions and interviews revealed women were more balanced and risk aware, rather than risk averse. “Women are not the same,” stated one interviewee in the report. “We need a spectrum of products that cater to women who are a) risk takers and b) more entrepreneurial.”

As well as presenting an understanding of what wealth means to women, the report examined whether women’s approach to wealth changes as they become more financially independent, grouping those attitudes into seven categories: pragmatists, independence seekers, adventurers, democrats, providers, supporters and legacy creators.

The survey includes the responses of 2,500 women and men, interviews with 100 high-net-worth women and 1-2-1 interviews and focus group sessions held with financially successful women in the UK between 1 February and 30 April 2019.

Participants in the online survey and interviews were defined as follows: 48% are in the £1 million-£5 million wealth bracket, 14% between £5-10 million, and 10% above £10 million; 63% have made their wealth while 12% inherited it, with the remainder wealthy through marriage. Furthermore, 71% are based in London and the South, with an even distribution across other regions, while 63% are married with the remainder single, divorced or widowed.