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NZ missing out on billions due to lack of women investors

New Zealand is losing out on billions of dollars due an investment gender gap, according to new research by Sharesies, who says lifting female participation in investing by 50% could add $11 billion to New Zealand markets.

The nationwide research shows that only 14% of women invest in shares, compared to 25% of men. Having the confidence and motivation to invest is also lower for women, roughly half that of men. 

As a result, the New Zealand economy is missing out on funds that could help growth and innovation, says Sharesies co-founder and CEO, Brooke Roberts.

"This represents a big loss for New Zealand businesses looking for capital to grow," Roberts says.

“There are more than 300,000 retail investors with over $80 billion dollars invested in New Zealand capital markets. Based on our research, around two-thirds of these investors are men. If we were able to increase women’s participation in investing—even by 50%—that could add a staggering $11 billion to the New Zealand markets,” she explains.

Roberts suggests education and access is key to improving outcomes for women. 

“The Sharesies research showed that men feel more knowledgeable about the share market than women. If we can educate everyone from a young age that investing is now accessible and fun, then we can change this long-held perception that it’s just for men," she says.

Roberts believes that for too long the industry has been male-dominated. 

“We’ve got a 50/50 gender split of people investing through Sharesies — proof that women want to be engaged and involved," Roberts says. 

"It’s about providing the right environment for that to happen. We’ll all benefit from this, but the outcomes for women will be more pronounced, in closing the wealth gap and helping women achieve greater financial wellbeing," she explains.

Investing in New Zealand companies provides huge benefits for investors, and for the country, Roberts adds.

“Investors receive returns on their investments, gaining financial literacy and improving wellbeing. Companies employ people and pay tax, which in turn helps to fund government initiatives," she says. 

"Our research showed women lack confidence and motivation, so if we can improve this—even by a small amount— then this could have a profound impact on women’s lives, and on the health of the nation."

Other findings from the 2019 Sharesies Investor Survey:

  • Only 28% of women feel knowledgeable about investing in shares, whereas 44%of men feel knowledgeable
  • Slightly more women than men think that investing is only for people with lots of money – 29% and 21% respectively.
  • Fewer women (57%) think investing in shares is risky, compared to men (61%).
  • Despite a willingness, and motivation to invest, many aren’t taking that step.
  • Most people don’t believe that KiwiSaver will be enough to retire on.
  • Despite low returns, 71% of people continue with savings accounts.
  • More than half of the respondents feel they didn’t receive sufficient financial education at school.