City Hive report reveals women and minorities lack trust in investment industry

As a result of the mistrust, the investment and asset management firms are missing out on significant amounts of investable money, the report, which was supported by White Marble, Schroders and a consortium of retail and institutional asset managers, said.

The research, involved a survey on general financial attitudes and practices, followed by a series of in-depth interviews with a range of participants across demographic characteristics.

The results of the survey alone were striking, with 35% of men surveyed having an investment portfolio compared to just 12.5% of women.

The picture by ethnicity was more complex. White respondents chose a mixture of methods of savings but were more likely to have a private pension and less likely to have cash compared to other groups.

Meanwhile, Black, Pakistani and Indian respondents were more likely to rely on savings and property.

The reasons behind this include the industry vernacular and failure to create inclusive advertising.

“An internet search of the term ‘investor’ from March 2020 brought up images of men – almost overwhelmingly white – standing by graphs, looking at numbers, talking to other men and shaking hands,” the report explained.  It went on to say that you had to scroll a significant way to find a woman and to see a black man you have to scroll past more than 50 images and “you only get the back of his head, out of focus”.

“It took a lengthy time to find black woman – as a cartoon,” the report said.

Bev Shah, chief executive of City Hive said: “Our research proved that investment is all too often seen as something only for the elite or those with considerable money and wealth.  If the asset and investment management industry wants to tackle these inequalities, we need to move beyond awareness and take action to address the imbalances in our financial system.

“By democratising investing, we can create a fairer, more inclusive industry that helps people from all backgrounds find their way to financial security.”

In the report, City Hive recommended clear product information with transparent data on returns along with the need for role models that demonstrate positive financial behaviours “with realistic trajectories”.

Mandy Kirby, chief strategist of City Hive, added that changes need to be made “across the supply chain, from the advisors to the sales and marketing teams and beyond to ensure that the impact filters through the entire industry”.

Gaps in financial education begin at a young age and “a lack of financial expertise in the family home means subsequent generations will not be taught how to manage their finances in a long-term and sustainable way,” the report noted.

“The investment world can look intimidating or like a club you need to meet conditions to join,” it added.  

Carolina Minio Paluello, global head of products, solutions and quant at Schroders said: “It is our responsibility as a global asset manager to take actionable and accountable steps to address the barriers that are preventing ethnic minorities and women from accessing the resources and opportunities that are available within our financial  industry.”

She said the report serves as an “important reminder” in how far the industry needs to go and “how data is a pivotal part of this journey”.

Georgina (Twink) Field, CEO and founder of White Marble Consulting concluded: “Studies like this, it brings into sharp focus the need to better democratise access to investing and facilitate people from all backgrounds to thrive in our sector.”

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