Women are transforming the global economy. The financial services industry
must evolve both to better serve women investors, and to assess the impact
that women’s decisions have on markets worldwide – now and in the decades
Women represent an increasing economic power in the U.S. and around the
globe. American women account for 47% of the U.S. labor force and are
responsible for starting 41% of new businesses.1, 2 And as
business leaders, women make a difference: A 2018 McKinsey study found
companies with the most gender-diverse executive teams were more likely to
have above-average profitability than the least diverse companies by 21%. 3
For the first time, American women have surpassed men in controlling
private wealth, giving them decision-making power over approximately $14
trillion.4 On a larger scale, as of 2017, women held 30% of the
world’s wealth (approximately $60 trillion), and estimates call for that
amount to reach $72 trillion by 2020.2
But the financial industry has not been as quick to respond to this
demographic shift as many of us would hope. Women’s perspectives are
essential: There’s opportunity for greater gender diversity in industry
leadership, on trade floors and in management roles. More women could
represent and make decisions about the trillions of dollars in client
assets our industry manages daily.
Like many investment management firms, PIMCO advocates for gender equality
in our industry and across the broader economy, partnering with influential
organizations such as Girls Who Invest and The 30% Club to bring more women
into portfolio management roles. Our CEO, Manny Roman, also recently signed
Women’s Empowerment Principles, underscoring PIMCO’s commitment to equality around the world.
Women as investors
When I started in the financial services industry more than two decades
ago, I worked on a groundbreaking research initiative aimed at helping
women get more engaged in investing. At the time, demographic factors
pointed to the need for women to become more active investors; today the
demographics reveal women’s vast financial power. The groundswell of focus
across the investment management industry to better serve this broad set of
engaged investors is gratifying, but it also underscores the importance of
the industry flexing to meet women, instead of the other way around.
While women have greater understanding today of the importance of investing
in helping them reach their goals, our industry still has work to do to
understand the wide-reaching impact of this powerful cohort of investors.
PIMCO is committed to a research-oriented approach to understanding and
meeting women’s evolving investment needs. Rigorous research is crucial to
PIMCO’s investment process, helping us identify and act on major global
trends affecting the economy and markets over the long term. The insights
we gain from our in-depth study of women investors can help our industry
navigate change and better serve all our clients.
The pursuit of wealth-life balance
With women directing increasing wealth, it is important for the individuals
and the firms that will manage their investments to understand women’s
objectives, challenges and expectations. We recently commissioned a
large-scale survey on women’s views of investing, including their goals,
performance expectations and investment philosophy. We learned that many
women see wealth as one component of a balanced, holistic life: the pursuit
of wealth, alone, is not enough.
We began our research by hosting small discussion groups, encouraging the
participants to share their unvarnished impressions of investing. These
focus groups highlighted how the financial industry’s traditional framework
for helping individuals manage their assets isn’t working for many women.
Specifically, we heard this feedback:
- The financial industry is set up to be complicated and uncomfortable for
- Women want power and control over their finances, but they are happy to
delegate to quality partners – advisors and managers who share their values
and employ a transparent, straightforward approach.
- Advisors assume all investors have a long-term investment horizon, but
women’s lives and investment goals are more complicated and immediate.
- Performance is more qualitative than quantitative.
Transforming insights into actions
These initial findings confirmed for us that women are a catalyst of change
and opportunity – redefining the rules and setting new expectations for our
industry. And the great news is that the industry has an opportunity to
respond – and empower women to find wealth-life balance. The survey we
launched following these meetings was designed to gather specific data
around how financial services and asset management needs to evolve
to attract, retain and better serve women investors, including specific
guidance on strategies and product solutions.
In the months to come, we will share further insights, tools and resources
to educate ourselves and our industry on how to take action and better
serve women investors. It’s an exciting journey.
about PIMCO’s commitment to gender equality and register to be notified
when we publish our research and key findings on women, investing and
the wealth-life balance.
is a managing director and PIMCO’s global head of marketing. She also
oversees the firm’s corporate responsibility platform.
Source: Pew Research Center
study on gender gains and gaps
, 15 March 2018
Source: Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth Market Database 2017. 2017
U.S. wealth = $86.1 trillion (40% of global personal growth), 55% of which
is investable assets. 2017 global wealth is $201.9 trillion, 60% investable
Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle and Lareina Yee, “Delivering
through Diversity,” McKinsey & Company, January 2018
Source: Cerulli Associates