Number of female clients in South Africa is on the risePublished on 16 Dec 2019
A third of Stonehage Fleming investment clients is women and the number is growing, according to Reyneke van Wyk, Head of Stonehage Fleming’s Investment Division, South Africa. “The percentage of women in our South African client base today is 31% - an increase of 35% in four years”, he says. “In Johannesburg alone, the number of female investment clients has more than doubled in the same period”.
Where we provide both family office and investment management services to clients, the figure is lower. “If you look at our target market, with a net asset value of over $10m, the number of women falls to 17%”.
This, thinks Reyneke, could be down to historical trends. “One reason might be the way families have traditionally approached succession, where the nominal ‘heads’ of families have invariably been men”, he says. “Although this has tended to be the case until recently, things are changing”.
Within our business, the figures tell a similar story. Overall, women make up 51% of Stonehage Fleming staff in South Africa, and the number of women on the investment management team in South Africa has doubled in last five years. “We have always focused on appointing the best person for the role”, says Reyneke. “From the perspective of opportunity, we work hard to ensure that women here are treated no differently from their male counterparts”.
As a large proportion of our clients are from an entrepreneurial background, the trend towards increasing numbers of women clients should perhaps come as no surprise. According to research, start-ups founded and cofounded by women perform better over time, generating 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period (Boston Consulting Group June 2018). “It is true to say our client base is changing”, says Reyneke. “Previously it was dominated by certain sectors like mining, but today, no one industry stands out. We work with executives of successful listed companies and entrepreneurs across various sectors, property developers, commercial and diversified farmers - it is increasingly diversified.”
Most of the families Reyneke and team look after are first, maybe 2nd generation families. As they establish themselves and increasingly prioritise succession and governance, Reyneke expects current trends to continue. “While there are few families that are ‘headed’ by women, we work with many more women within the family relationships. Things are moving in the right direction”.
Source: Stonehage Fleming 2019
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