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Women more confident than expected: report

When it came to the gender split of SMSF trustees, women’s confidence in relation to their fund was much higher than previously thought, according to the latest industry research.

The joint study by Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and the SMSF Association, “Women and SMSFs: Empowering and supporting SMSF members on their investment journey”, revealed 83 per cent of men with an SMSF were likely to say they were very or quite confident in managing their SMSFs, however, 63 per cent of women indicated the same sentiment.

“My experience is that generally women will say they’re not confident even if they are because they feel as though they have to know so much more, so I was expecting their confidence to be much lower than what was found,” SMSF Association chief executive Andrea Slattery said today.

“But seeing nearly two-thirds of them feeling very confident is a really positive step as it means they are in fact feeling very confident.

“That’s the difference between the way males and females respond to questions around confidence.

“This piece of research shows that while there is still a great divide between genders, the women are catching up and improving.”

The report found 49 per cent of SMSF members were very confident that following a separation or divorce and their partner ceasing to be a trustee that they would have sufficient knowledge to take over sole responsibility for managing their SMSF investments.

However, following a separation, divorce or death of a co-trustee, women were more than likely to make changes to their SMSF to align it with their own investment goals, 53 per cent, compared to men, at 28 per cent.

In addition, following a separation, divorce or death of a co-trustee, men were more likely to maintain the strategies already in place, 53 per cent, than women, at 44 per cent.

Slattery reiterated the key finding focused on confidence, not competence.

“So what you’ve got here are people who are engaged, have high levels of satisfaction and are having their expectations met,” she said.

“This shows a new kind of behaviour that we haven’t investigated in total before, which demonstrates a pretty comfortable position with what they’re doing so the behaviours are actually changing and therefore they’re a bit more comfortable in how they react if someone [the government] changes their environment.”

CBA head of SMSF customers Marcus Evans added that greater confidence boosted trustees’ proactivity.

“The really important part is that if you’re confident, you’re on the front foot when things change, you’ll seek answers and advice, and be a lot more flexible,” Evans said.

“Given that women account for nearly half of all SMSF members, more must be done to better support and empower female trustees.”

The research was developed and conducted by Galaxy Research from a national sample of 801 SMSF trustees and 535 non-SMSF investors.

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