Women are often said to have better intuition than men do – hence the commonly referred to term “woman’s intuition”.  However, all too often, that intuitive “gut instinct” is undervalued in favour of logic-heavy arguments – especially in male-dominated fields such as finance and investing.

Yet studies show that women are actually better at investing than men, despite the fact that only 10% of asset managers in South Africa are women[1].  According to a study conducted by Warwick Business School, men are more likely to buy and sell on impulse because of their sensitivity to news events. The research found that the women investors traded nine times on average per year, while for men it was 13. As a result, women made more out of their investments.

Growing the pool of senior female investment professionals in the industry should be a key priority for all businesses in the sector. Momentum Investments has an entourage of strong women with powerful stories behind them.

Sanisha Packirisamy, Economist at Momentum Investments points to a gender disparity report published in 2017, where the World Economic Forum (WEF) calculated the global average annual earnings for males to be nearly double that of females, despite the average working day being longer for women. “There are days when a working woman will have to take a sick child to a doctor in the morning, be back at the office in time for a board meeting by lunch time and rush home at 5pm to cook dinner. It could be argued that woman have to work harder in the workplace because of the extra hurdles they face. Still, they exceed expectations,” says Packirisamy.

She points again to the WEF report, which calculated the average working day for males at 7 hours and 47 minutes – including 1 hour and 30 minutes’ worth of unpaid work.  “For females it was 8 hours and 39 minutes – with 4 hours and 47 minutes of unpaid work, which included child-rearing and household chores,” says Packirisamy. She explains that South Africa still lags global trends on female wage equality and educational attainment, as females are more likely to leave school because of family commitments. “Herein lies an opportunity for the public and private sector to eradicate the education and wage gap between males and females. According to McKinsey only 5% of the CEOs in Africa are female, suggesting there are major barriers to hiring and promoting women, which need to be resolved as a matter of urgency to close the gender gap,” says Packirisamy.

At the helm of Momentum Investments is another dynamic woman. Jeanette Marais, deputy chief executive officer of Momentum Metropolitan and CEO of Momentum Investments, is one of the most senior women in the financial services industry. She grew up listening to her parents discuss money and, at a young age, knew money was fundamental to life. Her father would often discuss financial decisions with her, which made her feel empowered. “I have vivid memories of my parents discussing money. We didn’t lack for anything, but my mother had to ask my father for an allowance. I understood her need to be independent,” says Marais. A costly mistake early in her career – of cashing in her pension fund to buy a home – reinforced the idea of how important it is to put away money, no matter what your circumstance or salary. She has an aversion to debt.

Letshego Rankin, Executive Head of Institutional Investing, says her mother was an influential super woman in her life. “While being a wife and mother, she decided to study part time to fulfil her career aspirations. She completed matric part time and, when she passed, she pursued her degree in social studies. She passed again and decided to go all the way, until she finished her doctoral degree at Stellenbosch University in 2017. ”

When Letshego began her career in 1995, she also believed in pushing boundaries by working two jobs – a claim administrator by day and a retail assistant by night. At a young age, she believed in establishing a good relationship with money. She says, “Money is an enabler – it allows you to be able to do the things you want to do like study, travel and spoil yourself. You can learn more about yourself by paying closer attention to your behaviours around money, and then use this knowledge to improve your financial functioning.”

These successful women in investment didn’t get through life’s challenges by not making mistakes or having it easy. Their journey to success was built around key savings pillars, which they share below:

  • Start now

Start saving R200, R100 or even R50 because it adds up! Stop buying that cup of coffee on the way to work every morning and you will see how easy it can be.

  • Review your bank statement monthly

Going through your bank statement line by line with a highlighter will help you eliminate unnecessary expenses you often forget about. It works!

  • Review your insurance policies and investments

What worked for you years ago may not work for you now. You also need to be sure you are adequately covered.

  • Invest in a tax-free savings account

The benefit of not being taxed in retirement provides much relief.

  • Invest regularly in a diversified, multi-asset-class portfolio

This should include growth asset classes, such as equities, property and global investments.  Momentum Investments’ well-diversified outcome-based solutions provide protection against SA economic weakness.

  • Invest in a retirement annuity

There is no access to the money, so you will be forced to save until retirement.

  • Make sure you are covered for the unexpected

Ensure you speak to a financial adviser about getting adequate life, death and dread disease cover.