Podcast: the diversity of women’s wealth

02 May 2019

Women’s wealth is rising worldwide, however, high net-worth women often have different attitudes, priorities and risk profiles compared to men. This Barclays Private Bank podcast features Lisa Francis, Barclays Private Bank CEO, UK and Ireland, and Tamara Gillan, Co-Founder of WealthiHer and CEO of Cherry London. They dissect women’s wealth requirements along with the topics in the newly launched WealthiHer report, ‘Understanding the diversity of women's wealth’.

I often find that some of our female traders are the best risk takers. Females like to feel more informed. They like to make sure they're well-read before they take a decision, particularly when looking at investments.

Lisa Francis

Barclays Private Bank CEO, UK & Ireland


How women's rising wealth is reshaping the global economy

The number of female billionaires globally rose by 18% in 2017, outpacing the increase of male billionaires by 3.5%.

WealthiHer logo

The WealthiHer Network

Barclays Private Bank is a founding partner of WealthiHer, a network designed to support women grow and protect their wealth.

Use the link below to visit the WealthiHer website.

Here is the transcript of the podcast

Lisa Francis: Welcome to our Barclays Private Bank podcast in partnership with WealthiHer. WealthiHer is an exciting new network supporting high net-worth women. My name is Lisa Francis. I'm the CEO of Barclays Private Bank in the UK and Ireland and I'm delighted to introduce Tamara Gillan. Tamara, the co-founder of WealthiHer, is joining me here today.

Not only is Tamara an entrepreneur, she also champions women's wealth in an industry where women may not feel that they receive the support that they would like. WealthiHer has released its 2019 report, titled: ‘Understanding the diversity of women's wealth’. Today, we're going to be discussing some of the findings of this in-depth report, how men and women might have different approaches and requirements to wealth and how we can best support them going forward.

Tamara, are there any words that you wanted to share with us to start off with?

Tamara Gillan: The network was created to champion female clients, whether they were self-made through entrepreneurship, like myself, through careers or those who have inherited their wealth or access to it through partnership or marriage. But I think the big thing I would like to say thank you to Barclays. I think it takes a lot of bravery and conviction to work differently.

The WealthiHer network is working across organizations together to drive change and so I thank Barclays for that conviction and also they are doing some wonderful things, as we've learned through getting closer to Barclays, and we really wanted to showcase and champion those things.

Lisa Francis: Thank you Tamara. In terms of the research itself, what aspects did you find most interesting?

Tamara Gillan: We wanted to start with real understanding and that's what the report was all about. We wanted to understand men and women and differences between women. We did find some clear differences between men and women, particularly with regards to their confidence, to risk but also more importantly, we found differences between women and that's what we sought to understand.

There were some really interesting findings. What was what was clear that women themselves think that there is a clear difference between their attitude and styles with regards to investment in finance, 73% of women felt this. Women were also much more interested (nearly two thirds) than men in making an impact, whether that was through social impact investing, philanthropy or social engagement. That was really different for women.

Women lacked confidence more broadly but that confidence was different for different women. So we found that self-made women, while they might they may have higher self-esteem and internal confidence, actually still had a lack of confidence when it came to finance because they didn't want to be seen to show that they didn't know by asking the wrong questions. So, there are differences between women that are really important to understand.

Lisa Francis: Thank you. So, I guess one of the most powerful things I saw from the findings in the report is that women have more financial power than ever and over 50% of the UK’s wealth is expected to be in the hands of females by 2025. This statistic is backed up in the report. When it comes to the confidence in our females, Tamara mentioned that females do have different traits and characteristics in regards to what's important for them.

But one thing I think we find, even in our own female population at Barclays, is that females want to feel as if that they are experts before they take a decision on anything, whether it's investing or whether it's a career step. They're more likely to want to be 100% confident before they take that leap of faith. Whereas typically you find with some of our male counterparts, they're much more comfortable to take a decision, maybe with less information, it’s more like 60%.

Tamara Gillan: The findings obviously looked at differences between men and women, so we talked to both men and women, and our focus in this instance is on women and what women want. However, there are findings such as ‘offering a more personalized service’ which is a big macro-consumer trend that people want in general, whether they're a man or a woman and also networks - people want access to networks.

This is true across the board. We're focussing on women because that's where there's both growth and there's also a need, but in fact many of these findings work for people across the board.

Lisa Francis: I would just add in there, Tamara, looking at our population, our workforce here at Barclays, our male colleagues are very keen to get behind these initiatives because we do have a changing client base. It's really important that actually both our males and females understand clients in a more meaningful way. A number of our male colleagues are trying to make sure that they understand the differences, so they can actually be more useful to our female counterparts.

From my perspective, the female network is a really powerful, but we’re doing more to get involved with bringing our male colleagues in to support all females. They can help support their rising talent, either as a mentee or through sponsorship programs. A lot of our male colleagues are also reaching out to a number of our female clients to help them make sure that they’re helping them through some of those big career decisions or investing decisions. Our male colleagues have a huge part to play.

Having come from working in a market-based environment, I often find that some of our female traders are often the best risk takers. Their approach, in terms of my findings, is that females like to feel more informed. They like to make sure they're well read before they take a decision, particularly when we're looking at investments. Half of this is just making sure that women feel empowered.

If I look at the way that our client base is made up, we have some of the most successful female entrepreneurs who have made money themselves, multiple times over in many cases. I think the report highlights that very well.

From my perspective, it's about making sure that we're talking to our clients in the right way, giving them the right information to help them make informed decisions that helps them understand more about some of the products and services. We must also make sure that we avoid the use of jargon which is inherent right across the financial services industry. By partnering with the other ten participants in WealthiHer [shows] that it’s something that is inherent in the whole industry – the need to make some changes.

Tamara Gillan: The perception of women broadly is that they have a lesser propensity for risk than men. However, as we've heard Lisa talk about, not all women are the same. Of course, there are women who have a much higher propensity for risk. As Lisa said, they often just want more information to make an informed decision around that risk. We conclude that women are more risk aware.

We found some really interesting dynamics whereby, when women have children, their risk profile actually changed. There was more of a need to create security for their family. We found that 59% of women (and 63% of our respondents) were entrepreneurs or had self-made their money. And 60% said that security for the family was absolutely critical to them as a first reason for their wealth.

We think it's important to understand these differences and to offer products that aren't just about preservation of wealth but are about growth, for those clients who have a higher propensity for risk. For others it's those products that preserve their wealth for themselves and for their families over time.

Lisa Francis: Tamara, I think that's a really good point. I also liked the example that got drawn out in the report about when some of our females make their wealth. Particularly, I think there’s one example in there where one individual made a multiple of £25m each time. One of the traits that we see from some of our male colleagues is the tendency to buy a trophy asset or so.

But I think that backs up your point that, in this example, the individual wanted to make sure that she was paving the way for her family behind her. I think that some of those behavioural traits are different in terms of gender, but as Tamara mentioned at the start, there's no two females that are the same in the same way to two men the same. There’s some interesting insights.

Tamara Gillan: An interesting finding in the report was that women, 67%, were very interested in social impact investing or in philanthropy. I think that's because women, more broadly, have a nurturing trait whether that's for their family, the next generation or broader society. I think that's why we've seen that come through so strongly.

Lisa Francis: Some of our most successful clients have often gone out and done their own philanthropy efforts, in terms of thinking about how they paved the way for those coming behind them. Some of those aspects turn to initiatives, [for example] helping in schooling. In the International brand, we hosted a female client breakfast in Nigeria back in October last year. It was the first time we pulled together what was 35 of what’s maybe our largest female network in Nigeria. They are all very successful individuals in their own right.

The stories I learned from a mixing with that population, was that they were going into some of the schools and making sure that those females have an education background and they’re thinking about how they rise. This was an example of our females trying to find time in order to give back. The philanthropy efforts are one of the other investments that they [female clients] can make, but actually it’s also [finding] time and networks. That's really powerful; we have lots of those examples across our network.

Tamara Gillan: I think that networking and collaboration are absolutely key, particularly in the current world that we find ourselves in. I've started a business as an entrepreneur that was founded on collaboration between brands and businesses, and that's what the WealthiHer network is founded on. It's working together to create a difference together, working with the UK’s leading financial institutions with Barclays being a shining star within that.

Collaboration is absolutely key to drive both understanding and change and that's what we're hoping to do with the WealthiHer network. I think if you talk about traditional networking, women almost cringe.

Even though that is my business, if I think of a room to go a networking in, I think: ‘Oh no’. We've got to find structured ways to actually build relationships and actually create change. Again, that's what the networks about so we're going to take the findings of the WealthiHer report. The most important thing that we can do is collaboratively sit down as individual member organizations but as a group and say, ‘what is it that we are going to change together and how can we all play a role in that?’

That structured networking to enact positive change is so important. I think it gets over some of the natural aversion you can have to a room full of people to network to.

Lisa Francis: Tamara, I couldn’t agree more. While I think networking is probably one of the most important parts of anybody's career journey, whether you’re a male or female.

If I look at my own experiences, the power of my network has definitely helped me when I think about some of the mobility that I’ve done in my own career which has seen me move from different parts of the banking sector. Also, I still talk to the same clients today with a different business guard than I did when I first started my career journey. My network has definitely moved around, as have I, but holding onto that network and continually thinking about and staying in touch with them - it does take time and effort.

As our females change through their career journeys and have different priorities in their own life, sometimes that does sometimes take a bit of a backseat. Thinking about how you can do that through your client relationships, through industry work groups and initiatives such as WealthiHer, which can help to bring a different collaboration and a different network, helps to advance their clients, but also some of the career journeys of the people that join us.

It's hugely valuable. If I think of some of the other extensions through the 30% Club etc., just creating that network and voice can help you to think about how you could really make a positive impact, both personally and professionally.

My boss, Karen Frank, is a huge advocate of diversity, both culturally and on a gender basis. We clearly have an international client base that we serve the Private Bank. If I think of some of the things that I've done in that journey since I've been part of the Private Bank, we are a huge supporter of understanding how to give support to our clients. Having a workforce that's diverse in culture and in gender is hugely important.

There are numerous things that we've done around some of the different programs. Having Jes personally take responsibility for gender last year, post the MD conference where we brought together all of our senior leaders into one place, joined by a number of all male MD colleagues too. I think it’s a really important emphasis.

If I talk to the Private Bank and Overseas Services, there’s our development programs around helping all vice president females rise, gaining confidence in their seats and some mobility programs again that we sponsor. This is together with sponsorship and mentee programs. Then also from an education perspective, putting the whole of the UK banker universe through training at King's College to help think about how some of our females might think about their investment journeys, a lot of what is covered in the report, is hugely powerful. There’s much more but I think I’ll stop there.

Tamara Gillan: I think the most valuable aspect of the report is that we have a clear indication of where we need to change. We also have a commitment from our partners to drive that change. So, there are five key things that we’ve identified we need to do so we have absolute clarity. That is from making the industry more accessible through to being more personalized and understanding - whether that’s based on risk or whether that's where someone is in their life stage.

We have a clear action plan that we need to go and change together. So that's what we need to do as the next step.

Lisa Francis: The media report helps to quantify maybe a number of things that probably we probably already knew. It really helps people understand some of the challenges that we have: we have to have a better understanding, more open approach and maybe a simpler way to interact with our client base. For me, it’s about the power of networks and what women what is to be able to nuance ourselves slightly, to be able to talk more openly.

By creating an industry presence and in collaborating with our other partners in the industry truly means that we can make notable change.

Tamara: Some key advice I'd give to women of wealth is: don't be afraid to ask questions, any questions. Also put yourself into networks and conversations, more importantly, where you can gather further information and insight. Be really clear what your goals are, even if they’re personal, even if it is about your family and the next generation, or social impact, or it's about the greatest return. Be very clear about what your goals are and demand that those goals are achieved and understood.

Lisa Francis: For me, one of the biggest things for women in wealth is that it's a growing population. I think it's just making sure that we listen to that voice, in terms of what the changing needs are. From my perspective, it's about making sure that we understand better as financial institutions and what really helps to make our female clients more successful in whatever their next journey is, as part of their agenda. It’s also about helping to create that network and education in terms of what comes next.