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Women take just as many investment risks as men

Women take just as many investment risks as men

One of the most enduring clichés is that women are more cautious in their investments. They tend to take fewer risks than men. Except that this is not true, says Delphine Barbaud, a senior banker at Lombard Odier in Geneva. The opposite is often the case, she adds.

With women controlling a third of the world's wealth – even 40% in the US – according to the Boston Consulting Group, their investment behaviour is of increasing interest. Especially since these fortunes are growing faster than those of men.

Read also: Evolving towards equality

“This gendered approach to risk has no place,” continues Barbaud, who has been advising on the fortunes of men and women for many years. It is a matter of preconceived ideas, a reflection of a society that confines the sexes to specific roles, that is still very widespread in Switzerland. “However,” she continues, “to think that women have never had a financial role is to forget history: they have often been the ones to hold the purse strings. Their ability to manage their money should not be underestimated.”

Women have a pragmatic approach to money and try to understand all the issues involved in investing

Lombard Odier cites several studies that show that there is “virtually no significant difference in risk-taking between men and women.” In reality, it is “primarily linked to the distinct pathway of each individual, their culture or their professional situation.” Moreover, it is not the female clients who panic the most during market turbulence,” adds Delphine Barbaud.

This does not necessarily mean that they invest in the same way as men. Rather, they have a “pragmatic approach to money and try to understand all the issues involved in investing,” says the asset manager. They are more concerned with the transmission of their wealth to their family and to the next generation, and are also more sensitive to sustainable investments, adds Barbaud. However, she is wary of making too many generalisations: “You have to understand the client, his or her needs, and adopt a personalised approach. This is what allows us to understand their financial and psychological capacity to take risks.”

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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