AJ Bell’s Morrissey targets gender investment gap

Helena Morrissey

Salford-based investment giant AJ Bell plc has announced its chair-elect Helena Morrissey is to lead a campaign called AJ Bell Money Matters to help more women engage with investing and close the UK’s £1.65 trillion gender investment gap.

Morrissey is founder of the 30% Club, which has successfully campaigned to get more women into boardrooms.

“Findings from a major new study of 5,000 UK adults suggests that the average level of savings and investments held by women is £49,000, less than half the average amount held by men of £114,000,” said AJ Bell.

“This includes money held in cash accounts, ISAs, pensions, general investment accounts and other investments, but excludes residential property.

“Extrapolating this £65,000 difference in savings and investments between the sexes across the UK population puts the UK’s gender investment gap at a staggering £1.65 trillion.

“This investment gap shows little sign of closing because women in the survey are currently saving an average of £180 a month, still significantly less than the £306 men tend to save.

“The research highlights the gender pay gap as the biggest cause of this discrepancy, but it also shows that women are less confident when it comes to investing and less comfortable with the risks that come with investing.

“The ultimate result is that only around a third of women (37%) are confident their long-term investments will meet their goals.”

AJ Bell commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey of 5,000 people from Opinium, conducted between August 26 and 30, creating the AJ Bell Money Matters report.

The AJ Bell Money Matters campaign aims to get women talking about money and investing via a new podcast series, monthly newsletter, webinars, in-person events, videos and Instagram account.

Morrissey said: “Women often have an ambivalent relationship with money.

“Some find it an awkward, even embarrassing, subject.

“We like the freedom and choice that money gives us, but while we might happily discuss topics as wide ranging as politics, relationships, work, health and fashion with our friends, financial issues are something of a taboo.

“The problem is, not talking about something often means not dealing with it – and not properly dealing with money undermines women in a very basic way.

“If we want true equality, we should be looking after our financial well-being in the same way that we look after our physical and mental health, our careers, homes and relationships.

“Our lack of engagement with the topic puts us at a significant disadvantage, and one that tends to increase with age.

“Through AJ Bell Money Matters we want to give women free access to information, stories and conversations that we hope will inspire them and give them more confidence when it comes to money and investing.”

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said:“I’m excited to launch AJ Bell Money Matters and Helena is the perfect person to lead the charge.

“About a third of new customers joining our investment platform at the moment are women and we’d like to see that get much closer to the 50:50 split across the adult population.

“Many women enjoy investing once they get started, so one of the first challenges is to help bring more women into the conversation about investing and give them the tools and information they need to get started.”