Based on the female clients and business partners who answered the poll, asset management and preservation are priorities with an eye towards passing wealth down to future generations.

The discussion group, led by its female European bankers LO Women, served as the inspiration for the paper Women and investment in 2023.

In addition to assessing women’s interest in private assets and their motives for sustainable investing, the study set out to determine the elements that affect women’s investment behaviour.

Female clients, future outlook and a commitment to sustainability

The idea that investments should help build the world that their successors will inherit is another objective that exemplifies sustainable thinking.

More than half of those surveyed stated that they have talked openly about inheritance matters with their family, proving that it is not a taboo subject.

Beyond portfolio management, the poll discovered that women expect their bank to do the following things:

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  • create sustainable, innovative investment recommendations;
  • approach asset management holistically, and
  • offer guidance on how to structure their wealth combined with insightful financial market information.

Practical investing strategies

Over 30% of the women who participated in the survey believe that sustainable investments will outperform standard investing over a five-year horizon.

Wherever possible, 61% said they give sustainable investments top priority, and 80% said they think they will outperform traditional investments.

In addition, female clients today placed detailed offerings well ahead of worries about transparency or impact measurement as the most crucial element that would enable them to invest more responsibly now and in future.

They are interested in ethical consumption, recycling, and waste management as investment themes.

Less people preferred preserving forests and using low-carbon forms of transportation.

Cécile Friedrich-Vuillemin, senior banker at Lombard Odier in Paris, states: “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.”

Engagement in wealth management

Most responders (40%) or 30% examine their portfolios’ performance on a quarterly basis.

They manage their assets in a variety of ways with one-third that have a discretionary asset management mandate.

A quarter manages their investments on their own, and a comparable percentage hire advisors.

But the impression of incompetence or lack of skill persists: According to 20% of respondents, this is the biggest obstacle to getting more active in money management.

It highlights the need for bankers to offer greater 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.”

Lack of familiarity with private assets

38% of respondents indicated they had little to no awareness of private assets.

The primary basis given for not having yet invested in this asset class is this lack of knowledge.

It supports a prior finding that women like to learn about investment-related issues in-depth in order to make educated decisions.

Gérard Felley, partner and head of Swiss and Francophone private client markets at Lombard Odier, says: “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.”