Interactive Investor

Number of women opening ISAs falls

1st October 2020 14:50

Marc Shoffman from interactive investor


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Young women buck the trend, but experts spot worrying fall in females investing for their futures.

Younger female savers are bucking the trend after research revealed an overall drop in women putting money into an ISA.

Analysis of HM Revenue & Customs data by Scottish Friendly found the number of women subscribing to ISAs fell 14% in the 2017-18 tax year, but this is mainly concentrated among older savers.

The latest figures show that between 2016-17 and 2017-18 the number of female ISA subscribers declined by 674,000.

This follows a record fall in 2016-17, when the number of women subscribing to ISAs dropped by 786,000 on the previous year.

Scottish Friendly says the current downward trend is largely being driven by fewer women opening cash ISAs, as the number fell by 19% year-on-year.

In contrast, the number of women subscribing to a stocks and shares ISA has increased by 7% or 68,000, to reach one million for the first time since the 2010-11 tax year.

The corresponding growth figure for men is lower at just 4%.

Scottish Friendly’s research also found that the number of women aged under 25 who opened a stocks and shares ISA in 2017-18 increased by more than 200% annually.

The number of female subscribers between 25 and 34 rose by 66%. 

Men and women under 25 are now the fastest-growing demographic in terms of stocks and shares ISA subscriptions, followed by those aged 25-34.

Jill Mackay, savings and investment specialist at Scottish Friendly, says: “There has been an obvious shift away from cash ISAs from both men and women, which is unsurprising given the low rates of interest on offer from many savings providers.

“Nonetheless, we must keep a close eye on the share of female ISA subscribers overall. Despite the recent fall in numbers, this does seem to be stabilising more recently.”

Lisa Johnstone, a chartered financial planner for VWM Wealth, says the younger generations are far from their “live for the moment” stereotypes and are actually very focused on their finances.

She adds: “Having lived through the 2008 crisis and the current environment, the fragility of the employment market and the economy has created a focusing of the mind, along with apps and technology to help young people set and achieve their financial goals.

“Cash has never really recovered since 2008 and we have certainly seen a reluctance to invest in cash in favour of real assets helped along by government incentives such as Lifetime ISAs.

“Those who have taken a medium- to long-term risk view in the stocks and shares environment have been rewarded for doing so.”


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