A group backed by a a cluster of private banks is expanding its reach to Asia.
The WealthiHer Network, a group backed by banks to make financial services more focused on the needs of women, is launching in Asia next week. A founding partner of the network in Asia and the UK is JP Morgan Private Bank.
The launch comes at a time when women’s financial needs are still underserved, industry figures say, even though women make up just over half of the world’s population and are significant wealth-holders in a number of regions.
Research commissioned by The WealthiHer Network found that 49 per cent of women in Asia say they lack confidence in financial matters; 68 per cent of women in Hong Kong are likely to be denied funding; 80 per cent of women in Singapore are concerned about gender bias in the finance industry; and Asian women are 33 per cent less likely than Asian men to be the sole decision maker on investment products.
In Vietnam women are 50 per cent less likely than men to treat ‘investment products’ as their number one financial priority; in Singapore women are 31 per cent less likely; in Hong Kong women are 29 per cent less likely; and in Malaysia women are 25 per cent less likely.
(The report was conducted by Kantar and examined the differences in attitude towards wealth and finance between men and women in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.)
“We have a global commitment to advancing women’s financial confidence, as well as their career growth and entrepreneurial success,” Kam Shing Kwang, chief executive, JP Morgan Asia Private Bank.
The WealthiHer Network Asia will be a collaboration of banks.
Originally launched in the UK in March this year, The WealthiHer Network is a group of “change agents from the world of finance”. UK founding partners include: Barclays Bank, Brewin Dolphin, Brown Advisory, Close Brothers, Chubb, HSBC Private Bank, Investec Private Bank, Julius Baer, JP Morgan Private Bank, Kleinwort Hambros, and Reddings Wealth Management.
(It is positive that banks and other financial services bodies are pushing to improve financial services for women, but it is also important to measure words against performance. For example, recent controversy about the crude remarks of prominent US investment figure Ken Fisher suggest that the industry has some way to go in cleaning up its act, although the reactions to those remarks suggest far less tolerance than in the past. At the same time, industry practitioners should not lose sight of the fact that efficient service, clear advice for financial goal-setting, and transparency over fees and costs are concerns that aren't specific to any gender - these are, and ought to be, universal requirements.)