Women losing out in investments, warns Norwegian association

The Norwegian Fund and Asset Management Association has expressed concerns about the gap between amounts invested and the types of investments made by women compared to men in the Norwegian market.

Research into savings habits found that fewer women than men regularly save into equity and balanced funds, and that when they do the sums tend to be lower.

The Association (VFF) has conduced a similar study every year since 2006, looking at savings and investment habits of Norwegians who enter into so-called savings agreement contracts with providers of equity and balanced funds.

According to the latest annual survey, Norwegians on average save NOK758 monthly via such agreements, or a total of some NOK500m (€61m) monthly. Of this, just a third comes from female investors, VFF said.

The averages hide further differences, it added. Women on average save less – NOK636 per month – and fewer women overall have entered into such contracts.

Managing director of VFF Lasse Ruud said the differences were of concern.

“Women live longer than men, and on average receive smaller pensions. They should therefore have more savings agreements and be saving higher sums, but at the moment it is the opposite. Men have also achieved significantly bigger increases both in the number of savings agreements but also in terms of the average monthly sums saved between 2006-20013.”

Since 2006 women on average have increased their monely savings sums by NOK74 or about 13%. But over the same period men have increased their average monthly savings by NOK175, an increase of 26%. Inflation over the period has been 14%, VFF’s figures indicate.

Less risk

Other differences indicated by the lates annual survey include the indication that women are less keen on risk than men. However, this ought to see more women enter into savings agreements, because as a product they should appeal to investors seeking less risky approaches to long term savings.

VFF notes that although it is important not to over-invest when optimism in the stock market peaks, it is equally important not to under-invest when pessimism is at its peak. Fixed monthly savings are a way to avoid doing either over time, and “can give you a higher average return than if you tried to bet on whether the stock market would go up or down in the short term,” Ruud said.

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