In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Schroders Singapore announced the launch of a “Together as Women” strategic campaign, in a bid to close the gender investing gap through gender equality and financial education efforts.
The campaign also marks the launch of a new W share class for the Schroder Asian Income DFnd, with OCBC Bank as the exclusive distributor of the new share class.
“The lack of confidence to begin women’s investment journey can impede them in the long run. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of financial well-being and preparedness, and making a change today can make a significant difference for the future,” Lily Choh, chief executive of Schroders Singapore, said.
First launched in 2011, the Schroder Asian Income Fund looks for stable income and growth opportunities in Asia. Through this new share class, the launch aims to encourage more women to take a first step into investing.
The W share class for the fund is available only at OCBC Bank branches, and only to women. Investments into the fund start at S$100 ($73.39), less than the standard minimum fund investment of S$1,000.
The Schroder Asian Income fund has generated a three-year cumulative return of 6.86%, in US dollars, as compared with its sector average of 20.85%, according to FE Fundinfo.
The fund’s top five holdings as at 31 January 2022 are: Samsung Electronics (2.2%), Ausnet Services (2.0%), HK Electronic Investments Units (2.0%), Novatek Microelectronics (1.9%), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (1.5%), according to fund factsheet.
Gender investing gap
The World Economic Forum reported that the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity has closed up to 58% in 2021, a small improvement from 57.8% the previous year. The findings are in line with the results of the OCBC Financial Wellness Index 2021, which showed that, although the percentage of women with investments in Singapore increased from 60% in 2020 to 79% in 2021, a gender investing gap still exists, contributing to a wealth disparity between genders.
The results also discovered that women lack confidence when it comes to investing, and those who do not invest think it is too risky and complicated, as they lack basic knowledge about it. Close to half (40%) of the women surveyed also did not know the best way to grow their money, compared to men (35%).
“Women tend to get intimidated by the idea of investing as their commitments grow. Where they may have had the freedom to allocate more of their money into investments and take on more risks when they were younger, the situation changes when additional responsibilities stretch their monthly earnings in many different directions – from managing household budgets, to child-rearing, to caregiving. At this later stage of their lives, the appetite for risk-taking naturally recedes because more people depend on them,” Tan Siew Lee, head of Wealth Management Singapore at OCBC Bank, said.
As part of the “Together as Women”, Schroders and OCBC Bank will be co-developing a series of financial education content tailored for women.
Schroders and OCBC Bank will also run various ads across digital channels over the next few months, to create awareness about and promote financial empowerment for women.