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Men and women not that different on investment risk

The difference in risk appetite between males and females is not as big as some people may think, new research has found.

According to risk-profiling firm FinaMetrica, the average risk tolerance level of males is 53.44 and for females, 46.82.

Within couples, the gap in risk tolerance between males and females is similar, with respective scores of 52.75 and 47.26.

"Our data shows that while men tend to favour riskier investments, women typically have more conservative tastes," FinaMetrica co-founder Paul Resnik said.

"But it's also important to note that the difference in male and female risk appetite isn't as great as some people might think.

"Both men and women on average sit in the same risk group, so what we are seeing are slight differences," he said.

Mr Resnik added that it is important advisers do not "superimpose" their own risk preferences onto clients, whether male or female.


"There is a risk this will happen if advisers don't scientifically test a client's risk tolerance in an objective way," he said.

"People are far more likely to stick to their financial plan through market highs and lows if they are comfortable with the risk levels they have taken and understand at the outset their financial plan, and the risks it entails, because they have been fully informed by their adviser."

Looking at the differences between males and females when investing inside their superannuation, Rice Warner found, across a sample of 10 million member accounts, that males are more likely to invest in a "choice option" than females.

"Some 26 per cent of males in Rice Warner's Super Insights study invest in a choice option, compared with 21 per cent of females," Rice Warner senior consultant Nathan Bonarius said.

Across those who selected a choice investment option, the allocation to growth assets only differed by 3 per cent, with 73 per cent of males selecting growth assets compared with 70 per cent of females, Mr Bonarius said.