Islamic Finance

Rising demand for wealth management services among Middle Eastern women

Published 16 Mar,2021 via Arab News - Economy - A southeast Asian digital wealth management firm has reported rapid growth since its November launch in the Middle East, especially among female clients.

And from retirement to buying a home, StashAway has pinpointed the reasons why users have invested their money with the platform.

The first digital wealth manager to obtain an asset management license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Ramzi Khleif, general manager of StashAway MENA (Middle East and North Africa), said the “appetite from the market has been extremely strong.”

One of the trends he noticed has been an increase from female investors. When it launched in the Middle East, the company found that two-thirds of signups were men, but the way the current numbers are growing it expects that to change by the end of the year.

“It’s also interesting for us to see how trends in the Far East are very much happening here, with the rise of female investors,” Khleif added.

“We are driven to reach out to more women, empower and educate them on finance. Based on these trends we predict that women will make up half of our client base which is faster than how long it took us to achieve this in Singapore and Malaysia.”

The issue is certainly a pertinent one as research by Barclays Private Bank late last year found a substantial wealth transfer was poised to happen over the next 20 years, with an estimated $15 trillion set to pass to the next generation.

Studies have forecast that four-in-five women from high-net-worth (HNW) families were getting ready to inherit substantial wealth over the next decade or two.

Rasha Badawi, director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in the Middle East, said: “As traditional family roles change and more women hold prominent positions in international business, their growing global influence is going to be a major economic force over the next decade, redefining areas that have historically been focused on, and dominated by, men.”

The bank’s research suggested that changes within financial services are needed to better support the growing number of HNW women as they are inheriting more wealth and responsibility. Therefore, wealth managers need to empower wealthy women and embrace their increasing power and influence.

Dr. Ylva Baeckstrom, a behavioral finance and gender expert, told Arab News: “The industry needs to overcome existing biases, work to deliver services and advice that are the equal of those presented to their male relatives, and provide women with the base to support their role as global business leaders of the future.”

StashAway also carried out a survey of why people were opting to invest their money. It found that 32 percent of respondents were focused on growing money for retirement purposes, mainly due to the absence of pension schemes in the region, while buying a property was the main goal for 19 percent of survey participants.

Founded in Singapore in 2016, StashAway has clients in 145 countries and has so far raised $36.4 million in four funding rounds.

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