In this special feature, we talk to Jade Ong (Co-Founder of AtlasTrend) about her investing experience and why she strongly believes more women should invest in the sharemarket.
The following information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if the relevant investment is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.
Q: Tell us about your professional background and experience?
A: I started a career in corporate advisory and investment management over 15 years ago. Prior to AtlasTrend, I spent over 9 years at Macquarie Capital in London and Sydney, and before that I worked at IAG Asset Management and Barclays Global Investors.
Q: Have you always been interested in investing?
A: Not quite, I was always interested in numbers but I actually wanted to study graphic design. It seemed like a very fun and exciting course. However, practicality took over creativity after getting my Higher School Certificate marks and I made a last minute decision to study Commerce and Law instead. I discovered I really enjoyed learning about finance and how our economy works.
My interest in investing grew from taking a part time job at the Australian Stock Exchange and then completing an honours thesis on price movements of bidding and target firms around takeover dates. It was unexpected, but I discovered investing can be quite exciting too. When I started my career in funds management after university, I found myself hooked to watching the share price movements and how it affected the investment portfolios on screen.
Q: Why do you believe it is so important for women to actively invest in the sharemarket?
A: Many people, including women, are comfortable with keeping their money in cash or investing in property. When it comes to the sharemarket, I’ve noticed from personal experience that it is something a number of women tend to shy away from. An article in 2016 by the well-regarded publication Financial Times exploring “Why do most women fear the stock market?” also suggests this is the case.
This may put women at a distinct financial disadvantage because it makes sense to diversify your investments and not just leave money in cash. A difference of 2% return p.a. over 10 years for an initial $10,000 investment is an extra of over $2,000 that you could have earned.
You don’t need to be an active trader to invest. Investing in the sharemarket can be buying listed shares directly or investing in a managed fund that owns a portfolio of shares.
Q: What prevents some women from starting their sharemarket investing journey?
A: There are many reasons. This could be due to all the jargon and unnecessarily over complicated and opaque investment products out there, products that are not engaging for nearly all women (or many men for that matter).
I believe confidence is another key reason. Many studies have shown that women are naturally less confident and more risk averse than men. A few years ago I participated in a mentoring program run by an organisation called Women in Banking and Finance (WiBF) that helps promote attracting and retaining women in what is a historically male-dominated industry. As part of the program, I learnt from a workshop that many women perform worse than men at interviews as they tend to want to know everything before feeling like they can talk about it at 100%.
Yes, it’s a generalisation that doesn’t apply to everyone but it was a light bulb moment for me – that was exactly how I felt walking into meetings. I would spend hours labouring to prepare ahead of time to be able to have the confidence to fully participate at the meeting.
I think this equally applies when it comes to investing. I have learnt that you can’t wait until you have full knowledge and full confidence before investing because investing in anything always has some unknowns and risks attached. It doesn’t mean you should invest recklessly but it does mean you shouldn’t spend your time looking for the “sure thing” to invest in because it doesn’t necessarily exist.
Investing is also quite personal. Whatever the reason is that’s stopping women or men from investing is something I’d love to learn more about and hopefully help.
Q: Is that why you co-founded AtlasTrend?
A: AtlasTrend was founded to provide both women and men a smart and hassle-free way to invest globally. We are trying to break down the barriers to investing by helping people acquire knowledge, increase their investing confidence and simplify the global investing journey whilst making it engaging and fun.
Having worked in the investment industry, my fellow co-founders and I wanted to create something that has customers at the forefront of our minds. We wanted to make investing transparent, engaging, jargon-free and with fees that are simple and aligned to investors. So far it has resonated very well with our customers and it is also great we have a fast-growing number of women and people new to investing sign up to try out AtlasTrend.
Q: Any final investing tips?
A: Learn about investing as it’s not rocket science once the jargon is stripped away. Invest in what you understand and only invest if you know what your money is exposed to exactly. If you’re new to investing, think of it as a new journey you are about to take. Enjoy investing as it can be just as interesting learning about new companies and their amazing products and services as it is exploring a new city on an overseas holiday.
To learn more about a new smart and hassle-free way to invest, sign up for a free trial with AtlasTrend today.