This is the fourth Women and Money post in a series about gender lens investing.
The first post introduced the concept of investing through a screening process, referred to as a lens. The second gives an overview of socially responsible investing as an established type of lens investing. The third answers the question “Why gender lens investing?” and promises to look at the role of board of directors (also referred to as the board) and high level business executives in publicly traded companies. This, the fourth post, gives a brief overview of each of these two leadership groups. Understanding why they are important to the company is critical to understanding how gender lens investing works.
Business executives and boards of directors can be found in both privately and publicly held companies. For gender lens investing, I am referring to publicly traded companies. These companies offer securities such as stocks and bonds to the general public through an exchange. One of the most well-known U.S. exchanges is the New York Stock Exchange, but there are many more. This is a simplified definition and to learn more, just perform a quick search on the Internet for more information about publicly traded companies.
With gender lens investing, the gender of the members of board and the company’s business executives is looked at through the lens. It is a pretty simple process; just compare the number of women to the number of men serving in these top level leadership and management positions.
So you may be wondering why a blog about women and money has a graphic titled Board of Directors with all male figures. The reason is simple. Men currently hold the majority of the board positions of publicly traded companies
Board members and business executives are tasked with working together to reach common goals for the company. However, their roles for achieving this are different.
Board members in publicly traded companies are elected by shareholders. Shareholders have ownership in the business. Perhaps you have owned stock or mutual funds and received forms to vote concerning selecting a board member. Maybe you have been asked to complete a proxy so someone is authorized to vote on a proposal on your behalf. This shows how shareholders are given the opportunity to influence the board and its decisions. Board members not only oversee the management of the company, but they also serve as a connector between the company (including what is referred to below as C-level executives) and the shareholders. Board members have considerable influence over the organization. They also have significant responsibility to the shareholders.
Gender lens investing evaluates the overall relationship between the number of women and men who are members of the company’s board of directors.
Unlike members of the board, business executives are employees of the business. The graphic above cleverly showing “C- level” and an executive meeting room may not mean much to you. However, C-level refers to the most senior and influential positions in a company. You have heard of them, CEO (Chief Executive Officer, CFO (Chief Financial Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer) and others. The term C-level executives is also commonly used for these important positions. C-level executives hold the highest levels of leadership and decision making authority in the company. Correspondingly, these executives are usually the most highly compensated of all the employees. Compensation may consist of not only salaries, but bonuses, stock options, etc.
As with members of boards of publicly traded companies, C-level executive positions currently are predominately held by men.
Gender lens investing also evaluates the overall relationship between the numbers of women and men who are C-level executives.
To summarize, a publicly traded company is one which offers shares of ownership to the public through an exchange. A publicly traded company has both a board of directors and business executives. Gender lens investing looks at the number of women and men holding these key positions as part of the filtering process, seeking those who meet the criteria established by the investment company, or even by an individual investor.
Coming in the next Money and Women, Gender Lens Investing post: Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund as an example of gender lens investing.
You may also read this information on scribd.com by clicking here.(This information is designed to educate you about basic financial management concepts. Questions relevant to personal finances specific to the individual should be address to an appropriate professional to ensure that the situation has been evaluated carefully and appropriately. The Authors and Publisher specifically disclaim any liability loss, or risk which is incurred as a consequence directly or indirectly from the use and application of any contents of this work.)
Copyright2014©by Debra Hadsall
As a financial advisor, I learned that most people are never taught the fundamentals of financial management. Some only learn from television or the Internet, which can be both good and bad. Sometimes applying a broadcast approach to something which needs to be personalized isn’t helpful.
I know I learned basics from my parents, but the advanced topics like creating wealth through investing or really understanding life insurance, health insurance, and legal protection were concepts I learned along the way or through my college education because I majored in business and minored in economics. Really, until I became a registered representative and learned how to teach others about financial management, I didn’t grasp the big picture. When you teach others and market/sell products to them that help them meet their goals, you have to learn a lot first. Of course the number of people in this country who chose to be advisors or brokers is just a small part of the overall population. So who is teaching the rest of the population, particularly young people?
Recently I read a post about how we have lots of room to improve our education of youth about financial management. Please click here to read the article.
Over the years , my friend Emily and I were asked to provide financial education to teens who attended our church. Emily and I are more skilled in working with business leaders and executives, so we reached out to find materials appropriate for youth. The materials we found at the National Endowment for Financial Education were absolutely the best. They start with basics like where does my money go…or why is my first pay check so much smaller than what I expected…to insurance investing, goals, etc. Everything we all need to know and understand, no matter our age. To learn more please click here. Currently I am using selected parts of these materials in a life skills mentoring program in a local high school. Sometimes we need to teach young people in the manner they have been comfortable with in day-to-day living, sound bites. Doing the whole book isn’t an option, but short sessions on topics works great.
The reason I created the Financial Freedom Party for Women and the corresponding book, and co-authored (with my friend Emily), First You Dream, A Financial Management Workbook, was to encourage learning and empower consumers. As an advisor it was much easier to work with a potential client who understood the basics and felt more confident in her or his decisions.
As the saying goes, “you can be part of the problem or part of the solution”. Getting to the solution requires us to acknowledge that it is a shared responsibility when it comes to financial management education for young people.
Until Next Time
Here it is, a short version of what the Dow Jones Industrial Average represents and how it got here. It is also a chance for you to see how all the reporting by the media may, or may not, warrant your attention.
The more we learn about financial management, the more comfortable we become with our personal financial lives.
Diminished capacity…do you know what that term means? Are you helping someone with diminished capacity manage her or his life? This FFP Talk mini-newsletter is designed to give you some hints to make things go better. Just click here.