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BW Businessworld

‘Don’t Jump Off The Roller Coaster In The Middle’

In an interview, Aditi Kothari, Head - Sales & Marketing, DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund, talks about women and their investing patterns

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Q: What prompted you to launch the Winvestor campaign (aimed at women investors) and how has it panned out so far?
My friends frequently asked for my advice on investments. Though I helped them in whatever way I could, I felt that they needed more attention and so, I guided them to independent advisors who were also women. The friends I helped, later thanked me and said that having a financial guide has ‘sorted their lives out’ and that they felt more secure and in control.

I wanted to help more women, not just close friends, and so I formalised the ‘Winvestor’ initiative at DSP BlackRock. This encourages women to develop the confidence to make their own investment decisions or at least participate in actively making those decisions.

Sadly, we found that only 23 per cent of working women in India and only 18 per cent of single working women make their own investment decisions. These seemed worrisome and we felt a sense of responsibility to educate and encourage women to start their own investment journeys.

Q: Over the years, have you noticed any differences in the investment patterns and habits of women and men? 
Our empanelled advisors tell me that women are more patient and are focused on goals (such as educating their kids) as opposed to just investing to beat the market. DSP BlackRock’s Investor Pulse 2015 revealed planning for retirement, child’s marriage, long-term healthcare, saving smartly as other key priorities for Indian women.

BlackRock’s annual Investor Pulse Study also reported that women are generally more risk averse than men. Several global studies also show that women tend to research investments in depth before making portfolio decisions, and the process, as a result, tends to take more time. Women also tend to be more patient as investors and consult their advisors before adjusting their portfolio positioning, whereas men are more prone to market timing impulses.

It is quite revealing that women don’t treat investing as a game or as a competition to beat their neighbour’s portfolio; they look at it seriously as a way to attain a specific goal, and therefore, look at longer-term decisions.

Q: In a nutshell, what would your investment advice to women readers be? 

For women who have never invested: It’s not rocket science. Once you take some interest and meet an independent financial advisor you will feel more financially secure and in control of your financial destiny – and that’s a great feeling!

For women who invest: Assess your risk-taking ability and invest accordingly so that you do not get anxious when the markets experience hiccups. If you are investing in equity stocks, switch to equity mutual funds because it is better to have a professional manage your money and still have liquidity. Stay committed for at least 5-7 years.

Fasten your seatbelts and don’t try to jump off the roller coaster in the middle, there will be ups and downs. Meet a professional financial advisor that you trust and commit to meet them quarterly. Diversify your investments and add some fixed income funds to balance your portfolio. Invest with clear goals in mind. Rethink your fixed deposits. Liquid funds and short-term funds can be great substitutes.