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Helping women grow financial confidence and wellbeing

You can think of investing as being a bit like driving.


It’s a comparison made by ANZ’s Managing Director for Funds Management, Fiona Mackenzie, when asked about the differences between male and female investors.


“It’s a generalisation but many males tend to be a little overconfident in their investment abilities. It’s probably not dissimilar to driving.


“On average men tend to be bit more gung-ho in their driving and women tend to be a bit more cautious,” she said.


The webinar - organised by ANZ New Zealand - was part of the Financial Services Council’s It Starts With Action campaign, aiming to help women increase financial confidence.


BusinessDesk Investments Editor Frances Cook led the discussion, which also included Helen Skinner, ANZ NZ’s Head of Responsible Investment and Maaike van Tol, its Head of Asset Allocation.


“We tend to ask for directions,” Helen Skinner told the webinar.


“Women have a much greater tendency to get advice. So that is in our benefit.”


The differences between male and female investors are something that Maaike van Tol said she’d noticed when talking with friends.


“When people find out what I do, women often talk to me about their budgets, what they spend money on and how they save money. I think women talk to each other about this all the time.”


“Men talk to me about their investments, whether they have invested in a specific stock, or they have a specific investment strategy,” van Tol said.


“I get the feeling a lot of them talk to each other too. That gives them ideas, helps them to work out which questions to ask, [and] how much risk they want to take.”


She added that talking about it can help people understand the different types of strategies and asset classes available.


“To the women who are outsourcing their investments to their partners, you still need to be confident that good decisions are being made. Your partner’s investment strategy may work out really well, but there are many stories where it hasn’t worked out so well,” she said.


“If you had the ability to influence those decisions earlier on, ask questions or go see a financial adviser together, it’d be useful,” said van Tol.


Helen Skinner said that in a previous role with a financial advisory firm she often saw women coming in at times of trauma, like divorce or death.


“Trying to decide who to trust with your financial future and make decisions at that point is hideous. So make sure you are engaged and asking questions. And don’t be afraid to do it. It’s a confidence thing.”


Frances Cook; Fiona Makenzie; Helen Skinner; Maaike van Tol


"The more we can talk about it and break [investment] down into something that is really achievable by all of us, I think that’s a good thing for New Zealand long term."

Fiona Mackenzie - ANZ Managing Director for Funds Management





“We definitely have more women taking a conservative option in the fund selection for their KiwiSaver account than men do. Men tend to go for higher growth funds,” Fiona Mackenzie told the webinar.


“And that’s actually quite a problem for the very long term. If you are not taking enough risk in your KiwiSaver account by focusing on growth, particularly if you start young, then you are going to end up with a very different outcome by the time you retire many years later.”


She said it’s important all investors take time at the start to make sure they are picking the right fund for their age, stage and risk profile.


“If you are young, you are in a better position to take more risk and that gets you a much better outcome in the longer term.”


Fiona Mackenzie has also observed a cultural difference between people in New Zealand and overseas.


“I think as well there’s also a bit of a cultural thing happening in New Zealand. In the [United] States we all talked about 401Ks, which is the equivalent of KiwiSaver.


“I think that’s changing in New Zealand because the balances are starting to get up to a level where people realise, hey, this is a real asset for me and I do need to pay attention to it.


“The more we can talk about it, and demystify it, and break it down into something that is really achievable by all of us, I think that’s a good thing for New Zealand long term.”


The webinar covered a wide range of other topics, including how the panellists became interested in investing, how to and what advice would they give their younger selves.


This article is provided by ANZ New Zealand Investments Limited for information only. Please talk to a financial adviser if you need financial advice.  ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited’s financial advice provider disclosure is available at anz.co.nz/fapdisclosure.



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