Miners have been stepping up the push to employ more women for some time now, but what about their efforts to attract female investors?

Now it seems women-focused investor days could be a thing thanks to a brainstorm by Perth Media founder and former finance reporter Cate Rocchi.

Manganese and copper-gold explorer Bryah Resources (ASX:BYH) was the first resources company to host a women-focused investor event this week at its offices in Western Australia’s corporate mining hub of West Perth.

“It’s certainly a first for our company, but maybe the first of many investor sessions,” managing director Neil Marston told attendees at Tuesday’s event.

“I’ve done a lot of mining conferences and the demographic of those conferences is 95 per cent male — and 50 per cent of the world’s population is not male.

“So we thought why don’t we put something on like a morning tea specifically looking to introduce our company to ladies.”

Wendy Davies, business advisory director for accountancy and consulting network Nexia, told Stockhead that there are now a lot more women with money looking for investments and opportunities.

“So what a great way to promote that and if you’ve got female representation on the board then there’s another door opener there as well,” she said.

“You can’t say the female population wouldn’t be interested, because this goes to show that they absolutely are.”

Wendy Davies, business advisory director for accountancy and consulting firm Nexia, at Bryah Resources' women-focused investor meeting.
Wendy Davies, business advisory director for accountancy and consulting firm Nexia, at Bryah Resources’ women-focused investor meeting. Pic: Jessica Wyld.

Tapping the growing number of women investors

A study done by Deloitte in 2017 highlighted the “changing face of the Australian retail investor”. It was the 16th study done in a series that started back in 1986.

The study showed that 60 per cent of adult Australians (11.2 million people) held investments outside their institutional super fund, such as cash, property and on-exchange investments.

Thirty-seven per cent invested through an exchange such as the ASX, which was a 1 per cent increase from the survey done in 2014.

And while there were still more men investing (44 per cent), 31 per cent of investors were women.

Not all about the P&L

Amanda Hobley is new to investing and she attended Bryah’s women-focused investor event.

Ms Hobley told Stockhead she was interested in finding out more about the impact of mining on the environment.

“My thing is making sure that the planet gets restored afterwards, so that if I choose to invest, I’ll feel comfortable enough to know that the planet is going to be taken care of,” she explained.

After hearing in quite a bit of detail exactly how Bryah would return its Bryah Basin landholding in Western Australia back to its former glory once exploration and mining was complete, Ms Hobley said she was giving serious consideration to becoming an investor.

“My friends and I never speak about investments because it’s always up to our husbands or we never really look into it, but as you get older you start to think ‘I’d really like to have a little bit of financial freedom and a choice of where I invest my money’,” she said.

“I never knew this was an available option – to come and listen to companies and find out more.”

Self-funded retirees get in on the action

Elizabeth Bradshaw is a self-funded retiree who is looking for good resources companies to help grow her super fund.

According to Deloitte, many Australians are taking charge of their superannuation arrangements with self-managed super funds (SMSF), and this is expected to grow, with one in three adults that do not use one considering joining the trend.

At the time of the investor study in 2017, around 15 per cent of Australians had an SMSF.

Ms Bradshaw has been an active investor for about 20 years and mostly holds blue chip mining stocks like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) because they pay dividends.

Although she has had some misfortune with smaller ASX-listed resource stocks, Ms Bradshaw says she likes to “have a little dabble” at the junior end of the market.

“I once worked for the Shadow Minister for Mining and Energy, Richard Court, when he was in Opposition and [mining] just fascinates me,” she told Stockhead.

“I invest in mostly bigger [mining companies]. I’ve done a couple of small ones but got my fingers burnt at times, but I’ve been watching Bryah for a while and they look really steady.”

One of the important things for Ms Bradshaw is meeting management face-to-face.

“This is fantastic doing it like this,” she said of the women-focused investor event.

“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.”

Must have ‘skin in the game’

Ms Bradshaw also looks at companies that have directors with “skin in the game”.

Bryah’s three directors – Mr Marston, Leslie Ingraham and Stuart Hall – all have shares in the company.

Mr Marston and Mr Ingraham both have an almost 10 per cent stake, according to data sourced from MakCorp.

Perth Media’s Ms Rocchi plans to introduce her women-focused “Investor’s Club” idea to other resources companies.

Meanwhile, Mr Marston says Bryah will likely hold more of the events.

“I think we’ll have a bit of a debrief about this and it was a bit of an experiment, but first impressions are it’s pretty successful,” he told Stockhead.

“I think more companies should be looking at rather than just targeting their audience at conferences, trying to get some more direct engagement, because a lot of people will only invest if they can see the MD and management up close and personal.”

Cashing in on manganese 

Bryah listed as a copper and gold explorer in October 2017 after it was spun out of Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL).

The company added manganese to its cache after uncovering high grades at its Bryah Basin project last year.

Manganese is the fourth-most-traded metal in the world. Only aluminium, iron ore and copper are more widely used.

About 90 per cent of manganese goes into steel-making, but it’s increasingly used in next-generation battery and power storage applications.

Bryah’s key focus this year is to monetise its manganese assets.

In July last year the company secured a one-year exclusive option to buy a mining lease that covers the Horseshoe South mine in Western Australia that was once the biggest producer of manganese in the Bryah Basin.

High grade manganese of up to 48 per cent has been uncovered in rock chip sampling at the Horseshoe South mine.

There is also 215,000 cubic metres of manganese stockpiles left on site that Bryah could capitalise on quite quickly.

Bryah plans to have boots on the ground drilling the Brumby Creek prospect in the next month and hopes to have a resource within the next six months.