Women are taking more control of their finances and there are two trends that resonate with them: ETFs and good behaviour.

Investment Trends sales executive Suzie Toohey says the number of women taking investment advice has doubled in five years, but they still only make up 20 per cent of online equity investors.

Women like ETFs

Investment trends says women are increasingly interested in exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Their stats show the proportion of women in their survey who have invested in an ETF has risen from 7 per cent five years ago to 25 per cent today.

Ms Toohey says the attraction is the ability to build a portfolio without having to pick individual stocks.

They also like good behaviour

Women also look for good environmental, social and governance practices.

Over a quarter of women investors said this was important, compared to 19 per cent of men.

At Byrah Resources’ (ASX:BYH) women’s investor event in January, Amanda Hobley told Stockhead she was interested in finding out more about the impact of mining on the environment.

Self-funded retiree Elizabeth Bradshaw said she had an eye out for good management.

“I think people like us like to have a look at the person, know he’s not some flash jack and he actually looks like quite a stable man.”

Women must become more financially literate

Investment Trends’ data indicates there’s still a gap in confidence among Australians generally who are close to retirement that they will have enough to live on.

Only 22 per cent of those aged over 40 feel confident they can fund the lifestyle they want in retirement, and this is only 14 per cent among women.

Mr Toohey says Australians generally need to take responsibility for their own financial literacy and wealth planning, but the size of the gap in superannuation funds between men and women means it’s critical for the latter.

“While more women are investing and taking control of their financial future than ever before, the gap between the independent financial security of men and women remains too large,” she said.

“The wealth management industry must continually increase its focus on delivering products and services that work for women, and work for them at every stage of their life – young, middle aged or mature; single, partnered or widowed.”

A Roy Morgan study in October last year found that women have narrowed the superannuation gap over the last decade.

In 2008 only 57.4 per cent of women had superannuation, compared to men with 66.5 per cent.

As of last year that had ticked up to 64.7 per cent for women and 69 per cent for men. The average balance for women has grown faster than men, by 87 per cent to $127,000 compared to men who saw super balances rise 53 per cent to $176,000.