Women come up short when it comes to super savings at retirement, with Australian women on average retiring with half the amount that men do.
That’s why three women launched Australia’s first super fund designed specifically for women last week.
Verve Super co-founders Christina Hobbs and Zoe Lamont spoke to Your Money Live on their new venture and goal to increase women’s financial literacy.
“Elderly single women are the most likely to be living in the streets in Australia, and as the fastest rising group in homelessness, it seemed like something had to be done,” said Hobbs, a former management consultant who worked for the United Nations.
Engaging women in a positive way with their finances is one of Verve’s goals.
“One of the big issues is that not only are women more likely to be struggling with their finances, they are also less likely to be seeking professional advice because they don’t trust the industry,” Hobbs said.
“What we are trying to do is create a trusted environment where women can have conversations with each other. With us, we can share some money tips and really provide a supportive community for women to improve their financial lives.”
Supporting this goal is Verve Academy, headed up by Lamont, who founded the United Nation’s initiative 10 Thousand Girl in 2008 and set out on a mission to improve the financial knowledge and lives of 10,000 women.
Verve Academy focuses on educating women on their finances to help them feel more empowered through webinars, meetups and resources.
While people of all genders and backgrounds are welcome to join the fund, Verve says that it provides education and resources specifically tailored to aid women.
How does it work?
So, what does a super fund designed for women look like?
Ethical investing and choosing companies that value women is top of the agenda for Verve.
“We look at what Australian women value and what we think is ethical.
“We want to grow our wealth, but not through companies profiting from industries we don’t agree with.”
Verve applied a gender lens and looked at how companies treat women.
“Are these companies known to have human rights abuses, or labor rights abuses in their supply chains which impact women?
“We are the first super fund in Australia to take a stance on not investing in companies without a woman on their board.”
Rather than simply ignore these companies, Verve reach out and tell these global behemoths about their shortcomings when it comes to women on their boards.
“We actually reach out globally to companies without women on the board to tell them what we are doing.
“And we think that’s really important because it’s through hearing about potential investors that I think will make boards actually start thinking ‘Oh wow, I think we are missing out on potentially hundreds of millions of dollars of investment because of this.'”
The companies Verve Super invests in include Cochlear, Netflix, Infigen Energy and Bellamy’s Organic.