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26 July 2021

Women in Fintech

Picture this: you’re a woman starting your own financial company, one of your biggest dreams and goals in life. Before you know it, you have your first potential client and problem to solve. Now it’s time to grind and get to work.

You need some cash flow or an investor to get this project launched. After months of emails and declined meeting requests, you finally land a meeting with a VC. Your pitch is finalized and you’re ready to present. You walk into the meeting, nail the pitch, and ask for the firm’s feedback. Rejected.

Puzzled, you go through endless thought processes of where you went wrong, what you missed, or what you could have done better. This happens all too often, and more often to women.

Women only represent 30% of fintech professionals, and less than 5% of fintech CEOs. [1]

In fintech, women represent only 30% of the workforce – a noticeable gap. But according to Business Today, general access to financial products, services, and tools is improving across the board. Increasing a firm’s internal diversity will create a diversity of thought and perspective in the product development process, resulting in solutions that address the needs of a wider variety of users. [1]

Women occupy the fintech industry every day – including founders, investors, engineers, investment bankers, marketing leaders, developers, and start-up entrepreneurs. The more we are able to come together and raise awareness to educate both men and women, the easier it becomes to spark real change.

Gender diversity improves industry performance
The fintech industry is estimated to grow by 20% through 2025 and hit $305 billion in market value. [1]

This becomes important to everyone, employees and business owners alike. The lack of gender diversity in the industry decreases the organizational and financial performance of businesses. Financial inclusion concerns everyone, as it ensures equal access to financial tools.

According to a study from Credit Suisse Research Institute, companies with at least one female board member had a 26% better performance than male board-only companies. [3] After the 2008 economic crisis, stocks with women on the board strongly outperformed those without women on the board. A 2015 study also showed that women CEOs in the Fortune 1000 drive three times the returns as S&P 500 enterprises run predominantly by men. [4] The study analyzed the budgetary performance of companies owned by women against the S&P performance over twelve years and found that the economic performance of the companies with female CEOs was 226% better than the S&P 500. [4]

Fintech needs more female entrepreneurs and professionals
With the growing number of skilled and knowledge businesswomen in financial services, the fintech industry would be wise to enlist their services and skillsets. It just needs more businesses and investors to create a welcoming, accessible environment for women to be able to step up in greater numbers.

In our latest Tech It Up Podcast Episode #5 “Women in Fintech,” SS&C Advent hosts Trent Berry and Sarah Johnson, are joined by Melissa Gilbertson, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology and Trading Operations Manager at Mairs & Power and Jennifer Kirksey, Managing Director, Wealth Operations at Tolleson. They share their trailblazing stories and discuss the changing landscape around gender diversity within fintech. [2]

"You may be the only female at the table. It's okay to be uncomfortable. Be confident and speak up more. People will respect you more when you speak up. Be intentional with what you want."
- Melissa Gilbertson, Assistant VP, IT and Trading Operations Manager at Mairs & Power

"Don't be afraid to take the leap into financial technology. You can grow as an individual and with your organization if you try things and see if they work or not. You need the right people and technology to grow as a company."
Jennifer Kirksey, Managing Director, Wealth Operations at Tolleson

How can you help encourage more women to start a career in fintech? Let’s start by highlighting and celebrating the trailblazers!

What can you do to help change the landscape around gender diversity within fintech?

  • Promote diversity and inclusion. Just like using the thought of hiring a “fresh set of eyes,” open your minds to diversity and inclusion of thought. Be inclusive, equal, and ever-adapting.
  • Women founders – create the next big thing. As the pandemic reshapes our future, business opportunities are opening left and right. Grab a mentor, bounce your ideas off of them, and start promoting your idea.
  • Empower each other. Empowerment does not stop at gender. Lifting others up and helping educate will provide a brighter future. There are many women-led fintech groups on digital platforms that promote a regular meeting cadence.
  • Get young learners into STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics create a “growth mindset” in young learners. The roles we inspire for the future can safeguard the future of the fintech industry.

“As the national dialogue around diversity and inclusion continues to grow and evolve, we hope it will prompt productive conversations about what companies can do to address gaps in gender diversity in fintech, as well as other industries.”
- Karen Geiger, SVP or Co-General Manager of SS&C Advent

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  1. Business Today | Fintech Suffers from Gender Gap (2021)
  2. SS&C Advent | Podcast Episode #5: Women in Fintech (2021)
  3. Credit Suisse | Press Release (2012)
  4. Fortune | Women-led Companies Perform Three Times Better Than the S&P 500 (2015)