Helena Morrissey is leading a campaign on behalf of AJ Bell to encourage more women to engage with investing and close the country’s £1.7trn gender investment gap.
The AJ Bell Money Matters campaign has been launched on the back of research by AJ Bell that found on average women hold considerably less savings and investments than men.
It found from a survey of 5,000 UK adults that the average level of savings and investments, excluding residential property, held by women was £49,000, less than half the £114,000 average for men. Women save an average of £180 a month while men save £306.
AJ Bell said extrapolating the £65,000 difference in savings and investments between the genders across the UK population puts the country’s gender investment gap at £1.65trn.
The research identified the gender pay gap as the biggest cause of the discrepancy, but it also highlighted that women tend to be less confident when it comes to investing and less comfortable with the associated risk.
AJ Bell’s campaign is giving women the information inspiration to gain confidence in investing. It will include a podcast series, monthly newsletters, webinars, in-person events, video and an Instagram account.
Morrissey joined AJ Bell as a non-executive director on 1 July, with the aim of succeeding Les Platts as chairman at the firm’s AGM in January 2022. She is also a founder of the 30% Club which campaigns to get more women into boardroom positions.
Her appointment to AJ Bell was hailed at the time as “a step in the right direction” for the firm which had been criticised for its lack of senior female leadership. In September, it added former Nucleus non-executive director Margaret Hassall to the board.
Morrissey said: “Women often have an ambivalent relationship with money. Some find it an awkward, even embarrassing, subject. We like the freedom and choice that money gives us, but while we might happily discuss topics as wide ranging as politics, relationships, work, health and fashion with our friends, financial issues are something of a taboo.
“Through AJ Bell Money Matters we want to give women free access to information, stories and conversations that we hope will inspire them and give them more confidence when it comes to money and investing.”
AJ Bell chief executive Andy Bell said: “I’m excited to launch AJ Bell Money Matters and Helena is the perfect person to lead the charge. About a third of new customers joining our investment platform at the moment are women and we’d like to see that get much closer to the 50:50 split across the adult population.”