KUALA LUMPUR (March 7): Women in Asia are taking the reins in building their financial security though investing, and thus challenging the view that Asia compared to the West is still a patriarchal society.
According to analysis done by the Boston Consulting Group, women in Asia (excluding Japan) will hold US$27 trillion in wealth by 2026, US$6 trillion more than women in Western Europe.
In Malaysia, a country where women make up almost half of its 32.6 million population, there has been an uptick in the number of new women investors in the stock market.
Data from Bursa Malaysia shows that women represented 36% of the new Central Depository System accounts opened year-to-date, from 34% in 2021 and 32% in 2020. It is also worth noting that female investors made up a third of total trade value in 2021, and total trade volume by women investors has surged a whopping 194.1% between 2018 and 2021, according to Bursa Malaysia.
This coincides with the analysis done by HSBC between 2019 and 2021 on the investment behavior of mass affluent women in Asia, which found that female investors in the study have on average shown a double-digit increase in their trading activities, mainly driven by an increase in stock trading. Compared to the pre-Covid period, there was a 14% increase in the number of mass affluent female investors.
A key driver to women prioritising investments for financial independence and security, and to the rise of women investors, is the solid educational background and financial literacy which is imperative in making sound investment decisions.
To reiterate and bring home the point on the positive catalytic and multiplier effects of the rise in women investors, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that women typically invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men, and hence their economic participations and control of productive assets speeds up development, helps overcome poverty, reduces inequalities and improves children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance.
While women may not be dominating the numbers in the workforce in Malaysia, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not contributing monetary resources to their households, as there are increasing numbers of female entrepreneurs running their own businesses. According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2021 ranking, Malaysia ranked 28th — ahead of some other places in the region, including South Korea (32nd), Japan (47th) and India (57th).
This shows a positive development to both the economy and the community, as some of these women invest their business returns, and become savvy investors by choosing the right financial products to grow their wealth. We believe that an increasing number of women investors can reshape economies, as there are positive multiplier effects from the financial returns generated.
At HSBC, we fully support the investment proposition for women, in line with our purpose on opening up a world of opportunity for our customers. In Wealth and Personal Banking, we have a range of solutions that help women save, manage and protect their wealth. We acknowledge the increasing importance of female investors as Asia’s unprecedented new pools of wealth, and we are proactively tapping into this area.
Recently, HSBC sponsored a season of “Girls That Invest”, a top internationally renowned finance podcast, hosted by two millennial investors Simran and Sonya, to bring practical ideas and insights to money-minded women and make investing more approachable. Our colleagues have been guested in the podcasts which are now available for streaming on Apple and Spotify, including insights brought by James Cheo, chief investment officer for Southeast Asia, Global Private Banking and Wealth, HSBC.
The co-relation of having women who are economically savvy and its impact on the economy can best be described by Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank and former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). During her tenure at the IMF, Lagarde said, “When women do better, economies do better”. There is much truth to this.
Indeed, for Malaysia and the rest of the world, there is still much work to be done to help women in attaining financial security and achieving their wealth generation goals across different stages of their lives. The good news is that we are definitely on the right track in getting there.