The modern female investor: empowered, sustainable, goal-driven

    The modern female investor: empowered, sustainable, goal-driven

    As S&P Global Ratings President Martina Cheung reminded us in Davos earlier this year, women now hold 40% of the world’s wealth. Moreover, according to the company’s estimates, more than 70% of the wealth that will be passed on in the coming years will go to women1

    Women are managing growing levels of wealth across many countries. “Our clients include more and more women from varied backgrounds, such as senior executives, members of wealthy families or entrepreneurs,” says Benoît Dubault, Head of Development and Strategy for the French-speaking European market at Lombard Odier.

    More than 70% of the wealth that will be passed on in the next few years will go to women1

    Was it to develop a specific offering that Lombard Odier recently launched a survey reserved for women? “No, when it comes to wealth management, we find that the basic needs of men and women are perfectly aligned. However, some services have certain subtleties that justify giving women a voice to better identify their expectations,” says Benoît Dubault.

    This is the objective of the survey in question, an initiative of Lombard Odier’s “LO Women” network that brings together bankers from several French-speaking countries. A series of questions about how they manage their wealth and their approach to investing were sent directly to clients, contacts and business relations, targeting women with over USD one million in investable assets. “We are delighted with the interest in our initiative and the quality of the discussions. This encourages us to continue our approach, in order to offer a tailor-made service that allows women to have all the cards in their hands to make informed decisions about the management of their assets,” comments Delphine Barbaud, senior banker at Lombard Odier in Geneva.

    The full results of the survey, which involved over 200 participants in Switzerland, France and Belgium, will be published in a report in the spring, with a particular focus on sustainable finance. In the meantime, we share some key points from the initial results below.

    1 - HNW women play an active role in managing their wealth

    When asked how their wealth is managed, about a quarter of the participants say they manage their wealth with the support of an advisor, while another 25% say they manage their wealth completely independently. More than a third say they trust their banker to do this (e.g. through a discretionary management mandate).

    A quarter of women say they manage their assets completely independently

    The remainder are women who manage their assets in a segregated way – i.e. the majority of their assets are managed by a financial professional but they manage part of it themselves –  or in a collaborative way with their spouse or family. Only about 15 participants indicated that their assets were “mostly managed by their spouse”.

    Read also: Women take just as many investment risks as men

    “These results are very positive and also show the diversity of women’s expectations and needs regarding their assets. Some want to entrust management entirely to financial professionals, while others opt for more active modes, such as advisory management. I also recognise in these figures the profiles of female entrepreneurs or business angels. These women often prefer to entrust the majority of their assets to a private bank but wish to keep part of it to make investments themselves, for example in start-ups or projects they want to support,” says Géraldine Biebuyck, senior banker at Lombard Odier in Brussels.

    2 - Long-term and sustainable finance without compromise are their main priorities 

    In response to the question “What is your main priority in wealth management?”, our respondents shared varied and personal answers, highlighting several strong trends. Many cited the “preservation of long-term assets” and the objective of “passing on to the next generation”. Aside from management, risk control and diversification, the most important thing for respondents is that their assets are used to finance life projects, such as a property purchase, their children’s education, or maintaining their standard of living in retirement.

    Read also: Sustainable investing and generating returns go hand-in-hand

    Another strong trend is to invest “to build the world we will leave to our children”, but in a pragmatic way. Indeed, many responses explicitly emphasise the desire to invest sustainably as well as to achieve financial returns. Here are some examples of comments from respondents:

    • “Long-term asset growth and environmental impact”
    • “Obtaining returns, while adding environmental and social value”
    • “Investments aligned with my values and with returns”
    • “Sustainability and performance”
    • “Preserve my assets and invest in a sustainable and ecological way”
    • “Responsible investment with returns”
    • “Ensuring a return to support the family, with sustainability in mind”
    • “Wealth preservation and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) impact”
    • “Preserving my assets and investing in companies that respect people”.

    “Investing sustainably, with impact, or respecting nature and people: however you want to put it, it is clear that it is no longer enough to propose a management strategy based solely on financial criteria. However, our survey clearly indicates that women are not prepared to sacrifice performance. Sustainable investments must also be profitable to be considered over the long term,” comments Cécile Friedrich-Vuillemin, senior banker at Lombard Odier in Paris.

    Our survey clearly indicates that women are not prepared to sacrifice performance. Sustainable investments must also be profitable to be considered over the long term

    3 - Questions of inheritance and succession are not taboo, they talk about them openly

    Our respondents had no qualms answering questions about wealth transfer. In fact, when asked “Have you ever discussed the issue of inheritance, gifts or the transfer of your estate with your spouse and/or children”, more than half said they “talk about it openly”. Slightly more than 20% said they discuss it “from time to time in an informal way” and almost 20% say “not yet, but I have to deal with it”. For the remaining respondents, either they have already found a solution or they have a different approach to their succession.

    “The results concerning transferring wealth are more positive than we had anticipated, as this is a fundamental yet delicate subject. At Lombard Odier, we have been supporting families over several generations for over 200 years. Our expertise in transmission is one of our main strengths, and we are delighted that this subject is also a major focus for wealthy women,” concludes Benoît Dubault.


    The survey aggregated the views of 200 participants over the month of February 2023. Most respondents live in Switzerland (nearly 50%), with the remainder divided mainly between France (30%) and Belgium (nearly 20%). In terms of age, 15% of participants are between 20 and 40 years old, 50% between 40 and 60 years old, and 35% over 60 years old.

    1 Source of the statistics quoted available here

    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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