The pandemic shifted the landscape for many investors by forcing a rethinking of what constitutes a wise investment. But with the pandemic no longer dominating headlines as it did in 2020, these definitions have changed again.
For women investors, the pandemic contributed to a sharper focus on achieving a broader societal impact with their money than just maximizing their returns.
Investment bank UBS released a report Tuesday that examined how women’s investing patterns and values developed through the pandemic. It found that 82% of women surveyed between January and February 2022 said that COVID-19 prompted a reassessment of what matters most to them.
An additional 72% said that it made them want to make “more of a difference in the world” and 68% said they were more committed to using their financial resources to enact change.
These sentiments appear to be translating into action. According to the report, 94% of women said they donated or volunteered their time in the last year and 73% said they were making purchases that aligned with their values.
Women investors’ inclination to make socially impactful investments is not a new phenomenon.
Previous studies and surveys found that women were more than twice as likely as men to consider the social impact of their investment to be an important aspect in their decision-making. A recent poll by Cerulli Associates found that 52% of women said they would prefer to invest in companies with positive social or environmental impact compared to 44% of men.
The focus on socially impactful investments may in fact play to the documented strengths of women investors.
Women investors were found to be on average more patient and conservative than their male counterparts. This trait translates well to the world of impact investing where there is a higher likelihood of below-market returns and a longer-term commitment is required to see the non-financial impact of these types of investments.
However, women investors were also found to be limited by other factors In an analysis of research findings by online personal finance website SoFi, it was found that women were in general less confident about their investments than men.
In addition, the UBS survey found that nearly half of women investors deferred investing decisions to their spouses, though men were separately found to be less risk-inclined when they shared their account with a woman. Taken together, these factors may limit the amount women investors may ultimately inject into impactful causes.