BNY Mellon IM global research: It’s time to create a more inclusive investment world

by | Feb 2, 2022

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  • Independent research examining global investment behaviors and attitudes shows women would invest more if the investment had a clear purpose and positive impact.
  • The report finds that if women invested at the same rate as men (both willing and able to), it could result in an additional US$3.22 trillion of capital being invested globally, much of which would flow towards investments with a positive impact on society and the environment.
  • There are three main barriers that stop women investing, according to the research. In addition, the report also outlines how the asset management industry overwhelmingly targets men. 

BNY Mellon Investment Management, a leading global asset manager with US$2.4 trillion1 in assets under management, commissioned one of the largest independent global studies examining investment attitudes and behaviors, and today releases its findings. 

As the first in a new series addressing diversity, Pathway to Inclusive Investment sets out to understand the barriers preventing higher levels of female investment participation and the potential impact if investing was more accessible to women. The research surveyed 8,000 respondents across 16 markets, as well as 100 asset managers, with combined assets under management of nearly $60 trillion.

Pathway to Inclusive Investment reveals that women are less likely to invest than men, compounding any existing financial disadvantages and limiting women’s collective influence as investors. It also shows that women want to invest in a way that has a positive social and environmental impact, and that if women invested at the same rate as men there could be more than $3.22 trillion of additional capital to invest globally, with over $1.87 trillion flowing to more responsible investments.



The research identified three key barriers to women investing:

  • The income hurdle: On average, globally women believe they need $4,092 of disposable income each month – or $50,000 per year – before investing some of their money.
  • The perception that investing is inherently high-risk: Only 9% of women report they have a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ level of risk tolerance when it comes to investing, while 49% have a ‘moderate’ level and 42% have ‘low’ tolerance for risk.
  • The engagement crisis: Globally, just 28% of women feel confident about investing some of their money. The industry needs to look at how to better engage and inspire more women to invest, which in turn could increase investment confidence and participation.

Hanneke Smits, Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon Investment Management, said: “Looking at the research, it’s clear that increasing women’s participation in investment is critical for their personal prosperity and to help shape a more equitable future for all. Doing so will also potentially help increase the allocation of capital for the benefit of society and the environment.

“Inclusive investment means ensuring the investment industry is accessible to all. BNY Mellon Investment Management is committed to doing our part to engage women more effectively. We will be using the insights from this research to ensure meaningful change takes place. By doing this, we also hope to promote the investment management industry as an attractive career option for women.” 



The research found that women are looking for more than just a financial return on their investments – they also want to see a positive impact on society and the environment.

Encouraging greater levels of female investment could see even more capital flowing to funds with social and environmental goals. Over half of women (55%) would invest – or invest more – if the impact of their investment aligned with their personal values, and 53% would invest – or invest more – if the fund they invested in had a clear purpose for good.


This is even more pronounced among younger women. According to the research, seven in 10 women under 30 (71%) who already invest prefer to invest in companies that support their personal values, compared with 53% of women over 50 who invest.


The asset manager research highlights the extent to which the investment industry is still oriented towards men. Almost nine in 10 asset managers (86%) admit that their default investment customer – the person they automatically target with their products – is a man.


Nearly three quarters of asset managers (73%) believe the investment industry would be able to engage more women to invest if the industry itself had more female fund managers, who could also be important role models. However, half of the asset managers in the survey revealed that just 10% or less of their fund managers or investment analysts are women.

Anne-Marie McConnon, Global Chief Client Experience Officer at BNY Mellon Investment Management, said: As women, we all have different hurdles to overcome to meet our individual financial goals. Some of these are influenced by demographics and personal circumstances but some is a result of how the investment industry has traditionally engaged with women.

“We believe it is in everyone’s interest for more women to invest. Not only will it be good for the future, but also wider society. Pathway to Inclusive Investment emphasizes the traditional stereotype of the person who is interested in investing is outdated. Young women are interested in investing too, but they need to be inspired to do so.”


As a company that touches every part of the investment cycle – we believe BNY Mellon Investment Management is in a strong position to make a difference. We aim to effect change at the grassroots through early engagement about money via our partnership with Inspiring Girls International, a global charity dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world. We can examine how to inspire the circa 20,000 women in our own organization to participate and invest more. We will review our approach and assess how we can improve engagement with women and work with intermediaries and the wider industry to make a difference.

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