More women save in funds, but claim less knowledge – Swedish survey

Savings in funds outside the PPM system are more common among women (77%) than men (75%) in Sweden, but men claim greater understanding of personal finance matters, according to a survey done on behalf of the Swedish Investment Fund Association.

Fondbolagens förening said that while 54% of men said they had sufficient personal finance knowledge, just 37% of women surveyed had the same confidence in their own abilities.

The greater exposure to funds among women is not reflected in direct equity investments. There some 35% of men own such assets, but just 21% of women. Men generally are more prepare to take risk for improved returns than women – 63% versus 46%.

The different approach to risk is reflected in the type of fund each group tends to invest in. Fewer women are invested in emerging market funds or Sweden funds – two sectors that have done well over the past decade. Women are also responded that ethical and environmental aspects are far more important.

However, the issue of personal finance knowledge is thrown into sharp focus by the survey’s key finding that roughly every other woman does not know what type of fund she is invested in.

Pia Nilsson (pictured), chief executive of the Association, said: “When it comes to something as important as savings and investments and personal finance then it seems typically female to believe that one does not know enough. Nothing, however, has shown that women do have less knowledge, but it is rather about the attitude towards one’s own knowledge. I believe that many know more than they think. Besides, the actual idea of funds is that it is the manager who should have the expert knowledge.”

“However, nearly every other woman does not have oversight of the types of funds she has. That is something I would like to change.”

Funds generally remain the preferred route to long term savings. The survey found that 35% of women and 38% of men picked funds as the best way to save for the long term, ahead of deposit savings accounts (17% and 11% respectively) and insurance based products (12% and 10%). Direct equity was seen as the best way to save for the long term by just 4% of women compared to 12% of men.

And despite not only recent data pointing to continued sales of bond funds at the expense of equity funds across Europe, and the survey’s own finding that 25% of both women and men were invested in fixed income funds, the survey sample found that just 2% of women believed bonds were the best option for saving over the long term, and just 1% of men.

The survey does provide good news for provider firms looking to future sales, as it found that 59% of women and 66% of men said funds were the best way to save for children.

The Association’s report – Women and men as fund investors 2012 -is based on a TNS Sifo Prospera survey of 1,437 people aged 18-74 in Sweden, who have a declared income.

Click here to read the full survey (in Swedish): [asset_library_tag 5952,Kvinnor och män som fondsparare 2012]

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