Editorial by Cristina Benito Ayuso (pictured), equity director (discretionary portfolio management) at MAPFRE AM, as part of our new March series, Women in Finance.

In recent years, the gender of financial consulting has changed; little by little, the number of female professionals in the financial sector is increasing. This figure is still far below that of men, but as family-friendly policies and technology improve, for example, this facilitates greater flexibility that in turn narrows the numerical gap. In the case of Spain, around 20 percent of fund managers are women. It may seem small, but this is one of the largest in the world and the largest in Europe.

In terms of the differences between men and women with regard to investment management, numerous studies show that women follow a different investment pattern to their male counterparts. In general, they are less risk-averse, their investments are more focused on the long-term, they opt for greater diversification and are better at following investment strategies, which works to their advantage if there is high volatility. Neuroeconomics seeks to explain how we make financial decisions and how our brain reacts to them depending on our gender, among other topics. It maintains that women have better emotional memories and, if there is a sharp decline in the markets or a significant economic loss, they will remember it for much longer. In the same way, they invest more in causes with a positive social impact and their investments tend to be more closely aligned with their own values​and concerns, so they would be more interested in ESG strategies than their male counterparts.

However, although various factors such as the manager’s gender, personality, environment, past experiences etc. affect decision-making, what makes the difference is the investment philosophy, the investment process used and, in the long run, profitability. What is really important is your knowledge of the assets you are investing in. Knowledge of the asset is what will give you the security to maintain an investment in times of volatility and to decide whether it is convenient to sell or, on the contrary, increase the investment in times of crisis in the markets.