For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Anna Sofat, Founder of Addidi.
Addidi is the financial services boutique for women and their families. They inspire and nurture their clients during their wealth journeys, enriching their lives and the lives of the people around them and enabling them to stay true to their values.
By utilizing money as a tool for happiness, inspiration and positive change, Addidi transforms wealth management into a pleasurable and rewarding experience.
They are known for being #beautifullydifferent.
Addidi also enriches lives by investing in a collaborative community which provides opportunity for women to co-invest as business angel investors, philanthropists and to use their talent to help businesses as mentors and NEDs.
Paolina: Your Voice of Women’s Wealth campaign has two strands, to change the culture of wealth, and talk about how women can use wealth.
- What do you see as being the current issues with the culture of wealth, particularly as it relates to women and how can individuals, businesses, and financial institutions actively help to change the culture?
There are many issues – I will highlight just 2 here:
- Many women are simply not engaging with the industry – Over 50% of women’s wealth is un-managed globally (Center for Talent Innovation: Harnessing the power of the Purse).
- Women lag behind in their provision for retirement :
- Almost half (46%) are saving nothing towards retirement (Research carried out by Prudential)
- Women between the age of 60-65 have on average less than half the pension pots of men of the same age – £64k for women compared to £125k for men (Michael Johnson, research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies)
The industry, whilst recognizing the issues and problems, has been slow to react and make the link between the traditional way of doing business and the issues faced by women; for example:
Pay Gap – The financial services industry has the biggest pay gap in the UK – this will have an impact on pension funding!
Unconscious bias – The wealth management industry has historically been shaped on the preferences of male investors. Research shows that these don’t necessarily suit women.
Women are not a ‘monolithic’ market – Women perceive wealth differently to men and there is a lack of nuanced understanding about women’s new roles as wealth creators, breadwinners and investors in the wealth management world.
So what can the industry do – Addidi is advocating the following:
- Address firm culture with tangible behaviours that create the inclusive environment women are seeking both as clients and as employees.
- Attract more women into the industry (see above!)
- Cut the jargon and sales patter – women want a discussion that puts their values at the heart of their investment priorities, not a product pitch.
- Build trust and transparency – not just in fees and pricing but by investing time in female clients to understand any concerns and provide clarity.
- Offer a deeper conversation that reflects life goals and wider investment criteria such as social impact and ESG responsibility.
- We have busy lives – advisers who are sensitive to women’s time constraints and manage the details that women do not have time to attend to are 69 percent more likely than advisers who are not to forge a satisfactory and enduring relationship (61 percent versus 36 percent7).
- Respect the desire and drive we have to make positive change with our wealth and offer us investments with purpose.
- How can individual women and female entrepreneurs, through their business, use their wealth?
As mentioned above, Women are not a ‘monolithic’ market, however women have and continue to use their wealth to:
- Support their families – historically they have done this by being the main carer, increasingly they are now doing so by being the main breadwinner in the family.
- Using their wealth to be good to themselves and those they love – as consumers we spend a lot of money on things designed to make us feel good – beauty, clothes etc. There is nothing wrong with this but increasingly we are beginning to think about sustainability and it’s important for our children’s future that we continue to focus on this.
- Using their wealth to be more independent – money is a great enabler and historically (and still in some parts of the world), it is used to exert control and influence over women. Many women are using their wealth to be truly independent – the rise in self employment and setting up of businesses is one outcome of this desire.
- Female entrepreneurs can also use their wealth to do business on their own terms – for example at Addidi, we have decided that we don’t need to follow the “business as usual” mode, we can set our own agenda.
Paolina: At Addidi, you believe that building true wealth encompasses three aspects – create, invest, and enjoy, what’s one piece of advice you would give to women related to each aspect?
Life is a journey and within that you will spend time creating, investing and enjoying your wealth; However, you don’t need to look at this as linear even though this is how it is portrayed by the wealth management industry.
Make sure your journey is the right balance between these 3 elements for you and ensure that the enjoy element gets some priority at all stages of the journey not just in retirement when we have typically finished creating our wealth and are left with the invest and enjoy elements!
Paolina: You didn’t like the traditional methods of the financial services industry, so you set out to redefine the culture of wealth by creating a sustainable business with women at its heart. What has been your biggest challenge in doing this? What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs who are looking to disrupt traditional industries and create sustainable businesses with women at their heart?
The biggest challenge has been capital and resources – you need both to scale a business and whilst I sought capital to launch Addidi, I asked for way too little and was hampered by my own limitations. So if you want to scale a business, think big, think risk and be prepared for a roller coaster ride. But you don’t have to follow in the footsteps of those before you, you can carve out a different path which best suits you.