A few years ago, a young employee in the asset management firm DSP BlackRock Investment Managers met with an untimely demise and left behind a grief-stricken wife, the mother of his two children. Consequently, she became the beneficiary of a sizeable life insurance claim and some company compensation money. Prying relatives and other kin were quick to spot the opportunity and to offer to invest the money on her behalf. In her vulnerable state, she might have even signed away her inheritance, but the DSP BlackRock team intervened and guided her through a suitable investment plan, according to her particular risk tolerance level and future financial objectives.
This incident compelled Aditi Hemendra Kothari, the executive Vice President of the firm to introduce a platform that enables women to make their own financial decisions, which led to her setting up Winvestor. Winvestor is an investor education initiative to build awareness and confidence amongst women to make their own financial decisions. Also, Winvestor helps guide women to a financial advisor who can personally help them meet their financial goals.
“We also came across many incidents involving freshly divorced friends with a sizable alimony and some single friends who were earning a healthy income but did not have the confidence, interest or knowledge to make their own investment decisions. Further, they did not know where to find a credible financial advisor who would understand their concerns. Enough has also been read about women taken for a ride and their finances wiped out. This was the motivation behind Winvestor,” says Kothari.
Step by step
To help this initiative reach a wider audience, Kothari and her team have taken several steps including having a dedicated website through which they stress the reasons why women need to learn to take care of their own financial future, partnering with female financial experts who are supporting this initiative and also helping them expand this initiative by conducting pro bono one-on-one sessions with women seeking financial knowledge. The Winvestor team also plans to launch a blog soon, with articles and case studies written by experts. Along with that they are sponsoring various social initiatives such as conducting financial literacy campaigns for underprivileged women in collaboration with NGOs and have even commissioned a research study on women and investments, the analysis of which will be available on their website by the end of April.
“The response has been encouraging. We have received good feedback about how the program has enabled many winvestors to be more confident and pro-active about investing and investments. To date, we have had over 128 registrations and we also constantly receive emails asking for more information,” shares Kothari, adding that there is no specific age group that they are targeting. Participants may include working or non-working women from all sections of society who are interested in managing their own finances.
Empower at the grassroots level
To give boost to their initiative, Winvestor has organised a series of financial literacy campaigns in North India in collaboration with Sanchayan Society, a Delhi-based NGO for underprivileged rural women, dedicated exclusively to financial literacy for the youth and adults. “These workshops spread awareness on concepts like inflation, investments, bank account savings and most importantly women empowerment. They made women aware of concepts like NPS, Recurring deposits, FDs and Life Insurance among others. These programs were held in the local dialect and have been received very well. Approximately, 10 workshops have been conducted and close to 500 women have been part of these programs,” informs Kothari.
Log on to www.winvestor.dspblackrock.com