Spotlight: International Womens Day 2024

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to recognise and celebrate women. Over time women have faced challenges attaining the same level of status, opportunities, and rights compared to men and although there is still room for improvement, it’s worth acknowledging the progress that has been made. In 2024, the idea of ‘gender roles’ (i.e. socially accepted jobs and behaviours based on gender) are fading. Take for example the belief that managing a household’s finances are the ‘man’s job’. These days we are seeing more women take ownership of their own finances, gaining not only a deeper understanding of them, but also enjoying the benefits of financial freedom. Around 67% of women now invest and are saving towards their retirement’s vs 44% in 2018, source Female Invest.

One factor that explains the increasing number of female investors may be the increase in women now working in the financial sector. In 2021, 24% of leadership roles within financial services firms were occupied by women (source Deloitte Insights). Fast forward three years and the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) has recently announced that they have already exceeded their 2025 target of 40% female board representation in the largest 350 public companies in the UK (source which is a really positive step.
Women can face headwinds in building up their portfolios over their lifetime due to issues such as the gender pay gap and possible career breaks to raise families. Research shows that those who do invest, demonstrate good investment habits and behaviours (source However, men and women tend to exhibit differences in attitude towards investing.

  • Women tend to be more conservative investors and less likely to jump on investment trends. For example, a significantly smaller proportion of women than men own cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (a highly risky strategy that is based on digital currency), source World Economic Forum.

  • Women also tend to be longer term investors and less prone to impulsive reactions. The average length of time to hold a fund was 8.3 years for a man and 10.7 years for a woman, source

  • A study by Hargreaves Lansdown found that women’s portfolios outperformed men’s by an average of just under 1% over a three-year period, source However, there is still a large proportion of women whose savings are still sitting in cash and not benefitting from the potential higher returns that investing can offer. Given the fact that women typically outlive men, it’s crucial that they ensure maximum financial opportunity and stability.

The chart below shows investor confidence split by gender with men identifying as having greater confidence in their investing expertise and ability to make investment decisions relative to women.


This year’s International Women’s Day hashtag is #inspireinclusion (a hashtag is used on social media platforms to categorise or tag content and make it easily searchable). On 8th March 2024, the House of Lords will hold a debate to discuss steps to promote economic inclusion of women. Further education and a system that prepares women for financial exposure from an earlier age may be the key to increasing women’s confidence in investing and help them achieve their long-term financial goals. As for any investor, regardless of gender, there are no guarantees with the investments made and any capital invested can rise or fall. 


The Noise​

  • Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced another 2 percentage-point cut to national insurance as part of his spring budget, estimated to cost the government around £10 billion. This follows an identical move in the most recent autumn budget, taking national insurance from 12% prior to the start of January this year to 8% from April 6th onwards. Adding the two cuts together, the move will save the average UK employee £900 a year in national insurance tax. The spring budget did little to move financial markets, gilts and UK large-cap equities were broadly unchanged, and sterling held near 1-month highs against the US dollar. This was announced along with a range of other policies, all focused on closing a 20-point gap to the opposition Labour party in national polls ahead of a soon approaching election. If you would like to read more about the Spring budget, click here.

  • The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged as expected this week, keeping borrowing costs at its record high of 4%. Since reaching 4% back in September 2023, policymakers have been batting away any calls for a rate cut, though are now acknowledging that inflation is easing faster than expected. Momentum is building now for a June interest rate cut, with policymakers openly admitting that such a move is looming with only the timing up for debate. The message remains that any interest rate cut will be data dependent. Though most measures of underlying inflation are easing, domestic price pressures remain high in certain countries, in part owing to strong wage growth.

  • Sales of Green bonds, bonds designed to support specific climate-related or environment projects, totalled $54.7 billion in February. This is the most active February since the start of the green-debt market in 2007. $83.3 billion worth of green bonds were sold in January, also setting a record for the month. 2024 is off to a stellar start for private debt markets, as companies take advantage of strong investor demand. Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, expectations are for record issuance for sustainable bonds as borrowers seek cash to fund their energy-transition plans.

The Numbers

GBP Performance to 07/03/2024

Equity GBP Total Return

1 Week








MSCI Europe






MSCI Japan



MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan



MSCI Emerging Market






Fixed Income GBP Total Return


UK Government



Global Aggregate GBP Hedged



Global Treasury GBP Hedged



Global IG GBP Hedged



Global High Yield GBP Hedged



Currency moves












Commodities GBP return









Source: Bloomberg, data as at 07/03/2024

The Nuance

All eyes in the US have been focused on the upcoming presidential election this week, with super Tuesday confirming that we’ll see a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden for the right to call the White House home. Something that will be more closely followed than usual in an election year given the inflection point we seem to be approaching is interest rates.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell presented his semi-annual Monetary Policy report to congress this week, where he remarked “I think we are in the right place” with regards to the current stance. Importantly, he admitted the US central bank was “not far” from gaining the confidence it needs in falling inflation to begin cutting interest rates. The comment showed his faith that recent higher-than-expected inflation and other strong economic data won’t stop the ongoing fall in price pressures. Yields on 2-year Treasury bonds fell slightly following Powell’s remarks, and investors added to bets that an initial Federal Reserve rate cut would occur in June.

A key point raised by the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee was why the Fed was not looking to cut rates sooner to prevent workers from losing their jobs. Powell confirmed this was a key concern, though assured that their data is still pointing towards a strong labour market.


All investment views are presented for information only and are not a personal recommendation to buy or sell. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns, investing involves risk and the value of investments, and the income from them, may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.

Any views expressed are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness by atomos. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.

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