The rise of women in finance

corporate

The rise of women in finance

Delphine Barbaud - Senior Banker, Bank Lombard Odier and Co Ltd

Delphine Barbaud

Senior Banker, Bank Lombard Odier and Co Ltd

Why have a customised financial approach for women?

People sometimes ask me why the LO Women's Club was created. At a time when men and women are considered equal, isn't adopting a gendered approach taking a step backwards? I don't think so. The rise in the number and importance of women's clubs in business, whether they are active in entrepreneurship or management, in fact seems to indicate the opposite.

This is why the LO Women's Club approach of the asset management is relevant. Finance cannot erase a traditionally male mindset overnight: decision-makers and investors in this area have always been predominantly male. But the world today is very different: women now own more than 30% of the world's wealth, and this figure is expected to rise.

Women now own more than 30% of the world's wealth, and this figure is expected to rise.

After discussing with our colleagues and female clients, we realised that we needed a different approach to wealth management with women. This is how the LO Women's Club was born. First, it started in London with a number of events organised for women. We keep it on a small scale to facilitate exchange, networking and the acquisition of knowledge.

We decided to go further, and apply the concept further afield in Geneva. It caught on and our other colleagues set up sessions in Zurich, Lausanne, Paris and Brussels. The philosophy remains the same, but we adapt to local situations. Some cities have a far higher concentration of female entrepreneurs, for example, so we ensure we are aware of their concerns and make sure the content is relevant to them.

 

Enabling free speech and providing relevant insights

Although the social and networking aspects are clearly appreciated, women come to our events mainly for our economic and financial expertise and the leading figures we invite. They like the format because they can speak freely. They don't just want to be told to invest in a certain asset classes. They want relevant insights on the world, which is why each time, we weigh up the social context and the investment implications.

For example, we hosted one of Europe’s most influential women in the digital industry and had a debate with our technology sector analysts to assess the opportunities and risks. This year, we hosted a specialist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to discuss "how to age healthily". She spoke to our specialists who select companies for portfolios that are associated with retirement. More recently, an architect and our strategists presented specific ways to further integrate sustainability, both in our cities and our portfolios.

It is worth noting here that, on average, women are more interested in sustainability. They want to understand the phenomenon and its implications. However, this difference in interest tends to level out in younger generations. Among young entrepreneurs, for example, both men and women increasingly want to take sustainability into account in their investments. They are well informed about it and know that it is not an obstacle to performance. 

Women are more interested in sustainability. They want to understand the phenomenon and its implications. However, this difference in interest tends to level out in younger generations.

Similar risk profile to men

While there are certain differences on the issue of sustainability, I see none in terms of risk profile, although some people think that women are naturally more "cautious" or risk averse. This is not true of their investments today. My clients include many female executives and young female entrepreneurs who know what they want and are willing to take risks. 

Beyond pure management, the most important thing for them is probably comprehensive, personalised support based on their individual circumstances. This includes protection of assets, liquidity management and finding external partners according to their needs, such as lawyers and tax advisors. They also appreciate that male and female bankers are increasingly working in partnership and talking more with investment specialists: private banking is no longer a one-man or one-woman show.

My clients include many female executives and young female entrepreneurs who know what they want and are willing to take risks. 

Finally, our female clients attach great importance to the quality of expertise and the clarity of explanations. We're increasingly challenged on this, and it's exciting! We share our analyses with them and help them to have a long-term focus and to filter out the background "noise" coming

from the media and financial markets. We also have an obligation to clearly explain the risks and opportunities of investing in an increasingly complex world.

 

More and more women in the world of business

In addition to our internal initiatives, Lombard Odier has also formed partnerships with women's associations and clubs in the business world. In Geneva, thanks to a partnership with Féminin Pluriel (FP), two events were organised with some of our financial experts. In June 2019, we also supported the organisation of Féminin Pluriel’s annual conference, which brought together several hundred women from 13 countries. Our former Partner Anne-Marie de Weck took part in a debate on women in business. We also support the Career Women Forum in the Geneva area.

At our Zurich office, our local teams have set up highly successful women's events such as the "Investieren von Frau zu Frau" series of meetings. Lombard Odier also supports the Women's Circle in Zurich, which regularly organises conferences on current issues. Finally, we are also a long-standing sponsor of the Ladies' Lunch, an event held twice a year in Zurich that brings together more than 200 female senior executives.

 

Important information

This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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