The battle of the sexes has crept on to the trading floors of stock exchanges with the result that women are better investors than men.
A global survey by financial giant Fidelity Investments revealed that in a male-dominated industry, women beat the guys hands down.
The company scrutinised 8 million customer accounts to discover that women save 0.4% more money than men and coincidentally, earn a 0.4% better return on their investments.
“It is a double whammy,” said Alexandra Taussig, Fidelity’s senior vice president for women investors. “The myth that men are better investors is just that – a myth.”
Taussig explained the percentage gap may seem narrow, but over a lifetime of saving, the difference is marked.
Think of Susie
The firm worked out that a man and a woman both on a $50,000 a year salary starting to save at 22 years old would see the woman with a fund worth a significant $250,000 more on retirement.
The survey asked customers if they thought men or women had the best investment returns last year.
Only 9% thought women were on top, while half thought the victors would be men.
“When women actually take the step of investing, they do a good job,” says Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. “It doesn’t surprise us, but I think it will surprise them. The issue is: How do we get women to have the confidence in themselves to take care of something that is fundamental to their future well-being?”
The survey results have had such a profound impact on thinking at Fidelity that marketers now write all their promotional material with a 39 year old customer called Susie in mind.
Men come to heel
She represents the target customer the company so desperately seeks and feels has been ignored for far too long.
To demonstrate the disparity between men and women, Fidelity believes financial services is a male dominated industry aimed at men. Wall Street follows the mould. Less than 10% of American fund managers are women and their number has slowly declined since 2006.
“Everyone in the company knows Susie and says we need to walk in Susie’s high heels,” Murphy says. “Whether it’s financial planning or saving for retirement or retirement income, we pause and ask if this will meet Susie’s standards.”