Spear's Wealth Insight Forum: Women and Wealth
The Purse vs The Wallet: Is wealth gender-blind?
What do women want? Freud was wise enough to keep silent, but we’re venturing some answers — on the subjects of money and law. Is it different from what men want? Should women only have female advisers? In the post-Radmacher world, are women better or worse off?
Josh Spero, Editor, Spear's (chair)
Deborah Bangay QC, One Hare Court
Sandra Davis, Partner, Mishcon de Reya
Shalini Khemka, Managing Director, Signia Wealth
Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive, Newton
Sandra Davis, Partner, Mishcon de Reya: “Men like to use female divorce lawyers because they don’t like telling other men their intimate shortcomings and they don’t like crying in front of them. It all hangs out in Mishcon’s offices.”
Shalini Khemka, Managing Director, Signia Wealth: “When it comes to investment, women are more concerned with the long term. In terms of cost management, they are equally as cost-conscious as men.”
Davis: “The law is meant to be blind. Yet men are regarded as special contributors if they make GBP30m plus. But there is no such condition for women on record.” “England is now the divorce capital of the world for women’
Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive, Newton: “There are obviously a wide range of sources of wealth, there are female entrepreneurs, and these have different expectations, and those who’ve inherited wealth and may be less financially literate… Female clients sometimes tend to be more tentative about challenging their advisers.”
Davis: “I’ve had women who’ve not been able to write a cheque, but that’s changing.”
Davis told a story about a woman who used to always travel first class everywhere during her marriage. When the divorce settlement had been made, she was late for lunch and said she was sorry she was late but she got lost on the Tube. When Davis expressed her surprise because she’d never used the Tube before, she said, “Well it’s my money now.”
Spero: Do female clients tend to be matched with female lawyers?
Deborah Bangay QC, One Hare Court: “As long as someone is able, it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.”
David: ‘In my experience, female lawyers tend to win out because male clients don’t want to talk to a man about the intimate details of a relationship, and think that a woman might be able to offer insight into their wife’s behaviour.”
Women and divorce
Davis on gold-diggers: “Now’s never been a better time to have a short-term marriage.”
Bangay: “Lawyers have come back with an increasing number of ways to reduce the 50 per cent [starting point for divorce settlement].” For example, a woman who had spent 27 years as a (non-working) farmer’s wife was given a settlement of the £25 million according to her “reasonable needs” because there was a total focus on the fact that this was inherited wealth and consequently the sharing principle didn’t apply.
Spero: Are prenups inherently unfairer to women?
Bangay: “It depends on who’s the wealthier party – prenups are designed to ensure that the people on the receiving end get less money than they would have” if they had litigated it. “I’ve noticed five times as many prenups in the last year as in the year before. And if my sons don’t get prenups I’m not giving them a penny!”
The full transcript of this and other sessions can be ordered from email@example.com for £30 each or £120 for all six panels (excluding Julie Meyer's presentation).
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