The persistent gender investment gap is a complex issue, but it is not lost on us that as a society we collectively lack investress role models. Role models do not need to be famous celebrities or Instagram influencers. Looking through our daily lives, we are surrounded by smart, badass investresses who inspire us all. So today we want to celebrate one fabulous investress with whom we had the chance to sit down for a candid and open chat.
Maria has spent almost all her career in management and the last 15 years working in financial services, mainly in mortgages. In the summer of 2019, Maria decided to go self-employed and has since been a consultant and non-executive advisor to several banks and building societies.
What type of investments and investment strategies have you done in the past?
I am new to this whole investment thing. I grew up in Glasgow and Newcastle and my family didn’t really talk about money at all. You’d have thought that after 15 years in banking I would have known about this, but I really didn’t until recently. I’ve got 2 children who are now 23 and 17; when they were young, I opened a long-term savings accounts for them, a fixed-term investment in bonds and that was the first time that I opened anything. And while opening an account for them, I opened an account for myself and that was the first experience that I had, about 15 years ago. Then, I started investing in peer-to-peer (P2P) property lending with Blend Network, which was the first time where I’ve had to go and do the investment myself.
How did you hear about P2P property lending, and how did you hear about Blend Network?
I heard about P2P property lending in the financial trade press and met people at various events who were investing, and I actually saw you (Roxana) speak at the Women In Finance summit and we ended up chatting afterwards. You were talking about the fact that women tend to save but not invest, and I thought: “That’s me! That woman you are talking about is me. I’ve got a good job, I’ve got a good income, I am saving for my future, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t do this. Why do I not?”. And that’s why I did it. You inspired me to do it.
What interested you about P2P property lending and about Blend Network in particular?
My experience of opening the account for the other products that I have, stocks and shares ISA, was that it was actually very difficult to navigate, it was very difficult to know what to set up, some of the language and the terminology was really technical and almost written as if you were a very experienced investor. So, if you are not familiar with the wording, what some of the figures mean, how things have performed and they are expected to perform, then it’s actually really challenging. And it’s hard as well when you have to get a feel for what you are actually investing in and whether those investments fit with your values, with your aspirations and with the things that are important to you. So, what interested me about P2P property lending and about Blend Network was the fact that you were investing in affordable housing. Housing is really important to our economy and to the financial wellbeing of the nation, and owning your own property, especially for someone like me who doesn’t come from that background is a really big thing and being financially secure and financially independent and creating wealth that you can then leave for your kids. So what I found with Blend Network is that because it was property-backed and property was what I was comfortable with, I knew that property is always a good investment over the longer term, so I felt really comfortable that it was property-backed. And when I went on the platform, it was just so easy to register and to set up, it was really intuitive to use and I felt really safe. I know that your investment always involves risk and that you should only invest what you feel comfortable with, but I felt really secure doing it. It was very transparent, the information that was there was really easy and simple to read and understand. I felt that I was in control and I knew what I was doing.
I had a lengthy chat with Maria and she also told me how for her, it was all about doing well while doing good. Several studies of the gender investment gap have found that women tend to express their values through their portfolios, and for Maria it was key to know that she was investing in affordable house building and supporting local communities across the UK. So today let us take a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievements of investress role models like Maria.
Your capital is at risk if you lend to businesses. P2P lending is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Investments are illiquid (the inability to sell assets quickly or without substantial loss in value). Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Blend Loan Network Limited is an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN. 574048)