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    Lombard Odier survey on women and investing: facing the future with conviction and without compromise

    Lombard Odier survey on women and investing: facing the future with conviction and without compromise
    • During the first quarter of 2023, Lombard Odier carried out a survey of female clients and business partners in French-speaking Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg
    • When asked about wealth management, the respondents were most motivated by a desire to pass on assets to the next generation and to play their part in building a more sustainable world – without compromising on financial performance
    • Female investors are strongly in favour of sustainable investments, with 80% expecting these to outperform or match the performance of traditional investments. In terms of themes, they are particularly interested in responsible consumption and recycling
    • The respondents like to be involved in the management of their wealth: they want access to detailed information and a good understanding of the context within which investment decisions are made. A quarter manage their assets independently.

    Although 40% of the world’s wealth is in female hands, few studies to date have examined what women want and expect from their investments. Initiated by LO Women, the discussion group led by its female European bankers, Lombard Odier conducted a survey of its female clients and business partners in French-speaking markets during the first quarter of 2023. It sought to identify the factors that influence women in their investment activities, evaluate their interest in private assets and understand their motivations with regard to sustainable investing.

    Long-term vision and a desire for sustainability

    The female clients and business partners who responded to our survey prioritise the management and preservation of their wealth, with a view to eventually transferring it to the next generation. Another objective that displays the same sustainable thinking is that investments must contribute to building the world that their children will inherit. Far from being taboo, more than 50% of respondents said that they have openly addressed inheritance questions within their family.

    Beyond portfolio management, the survey showed that women expect, in this order, their bank to make sustainable, innovative investment proposals, to take a holistic approach to managing their assets, and to provide advice on how to structure their wealth alongside insightful information on financial markets.

    Their investments must contribute to building the world that their children will inherit

    Sustainable investments: conviction and pragmatism

    Just over 30% of the women who responded to our survey believe that sustainable investments will outperform traditional investments over a five-year horizon. 61% said that they prioritise sustainable investments where possible, and 80% think that sustainable investments will perform as well as, or better than, traditional investments. Today’s clients say that receiving specific proposals is the biggest element that will help them to invest more sustainably – ranking a long way ahead of transparency issues or impact measurement. In particular, they are most interested in responsible consumption, and recycling and waste treatment, as investment themes. Protecting forests and low-carbon forms of transportation proved less popular.

    Cécile Friedrich-Vuillemin, Senior Banker at Lombard Odier in Paris, explains: “Their objective is to invest sustainably and to have a positive impact on humans and the natural world, in whatever form that may be expressed. Clearly, it is no longer good enough to propose a management strategy based solely on financial criteria. At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that women are prepared to sacrifice performance, as demonstrated in our survey. Our respondents believe that sustainable choices will also be profitable ones in the long term.”

    Playing an active role in wealth management

    The majority of respondents check the performance of their portfolios every quarter (40%) or every month (30%). They manage their assets in a variety of ways: while a third of respondents say they have a discretionary asset management mandate in place, a quarter manage their investments independently, and a similar proportion draws on the services of their advisor. We note, however, that a perceived lack of legitimacy or capability persists: 20% of respondents said that this was the biggest barrier to becoming more involved in managing their money, highlighting a need for bankers to offer further financial education.

    Delphine Barbaud, Senior Banker at Lombard Odier in Geneva, explains: “Our female clients attach great importance to the quality of expertise and the clarity of explanations. We share our analysis with them, helping them to define a long-term focus and to filter out the background noise from the media and financial markets. We also have a duty to clearly explain the risks and opportunities of investing in an increasingly complex world.”

    It is interesting to note some regional differences in wealth management. Women in France describe themselves as highly autonomous when it comes to managing their assets, whereas their Belgian counterparts often prefer the advisory format. In Switzerland, meanwhile, there is a preference for delegating management.

    Women like to receive detailed information on investment topics, with a view to making informed choices

    Little knowledge of private assets

    38% of respondents said that their knowledge of private assets was basic or non-existent. This lack of familiarity is the primary reason cited for not yet having invested in this asset class. It confirms a pre-existing observation that women like to receive detailed information on investment topics, with a view to making informed choices.

    Gérard Felley, Partner and Head of Swiss and Francophone Private Client Markets at Lombard Odier, declares: “Our primary objective is to support our clients in managing their assets, and it is therefore essential for us to understand the expectations of our female clients. The creation of LO Women in 2016 also grew out of discussions with our female clients and the need to meet their expectations in relation to wealth management. Even though finance has traditionally been dominated by men, we firmly believe in the growth opportunities represented by this segment of our client base, given that 40% of the world’s wealth is in women’s hands.”

    Survey methodology

    This online survey was conducted in February 2023 and was shared with female clients, prospective clients and business partners in French-speaking Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg with invested assets of at least CHF 1 million. 190 women completed the questionnaire. Nearly 50% of those surveyed resided in Switzerland, with the remainder spread mainly between France (30%) and Belgium (20%). 15% of respondents were in the 20-40 age group, with 50% aged between 40 and 60, and 35% over 60.

    Important information

    This media release has been prepared by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd, a bank and securities dealer authorised and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) (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 media release is provided for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to enter into a relationship with Lombard Odier, nor to subscribe to, purchase, sell or hold any security or financial instrument.
    This document may not be reproduced (in whole or in part), transmitted, modified, or used for any public or commercial purpose without the prior written permission of Lombard Odier.
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