The worldwide financial crash of 2008 impacted millions of lives and businesses. London-based Iman Vinning was pulled towards studying economics and finance at A-levels after witnessing her Indian parents’ struggle at their new store during the start of the recession. She attended public lectures at London School of Economic (LSE), graduated in Economics at of the West of England Bristol and finally stepped into the field of finance and investments.
In conversation with iGlobal, Iman reflects upon the lack of ethnic minority representation as well as women in the field as the reason behind her business concept SHEinvests.
“I don’t just want to make the rich richer, I want to give the opportunity to everyone. That’s where I felt like this education wasn’t there for my parents. I wanted to provide that,” she says.
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As a strong endorser of women’s rights, Iman has been taking small steps towards equality at home. She does so by constantly telling her mum that she shouldn’t be in the kitchen the whole time and sharing chores with her brother.
The 24-year-old professional noticed that as she got deeper into fewer were the number of female friends and family members she had to discuss the details with.
“I thought that I am here to advocate woman’s voices and I know a lot about investing so, I am going to provide a solution to it.”
From studying modules with women and feminism in focus to then starting the first netball team for women at her first professional job, Iman strongly believes in equal opportunities for women.
Her university classrooms and workplace desks have always been male dominated. Iman observed that not many girls had been opting to study economics or finance. At most firms, the women occupied roles in operational teams while actual advisory, portfolio management, investment teams lack gender diversity.
“I hope firms make it their mission to level the male and female employees.”
Additionally, financial articles and theories are predominantly explained in a complex jargon that has a monotonous tone that dissuades women from engaging in the field. Iman explains that since men have always prevailed in the industry “the examples and everything else is directed at men”.
She illustrates: “When you think about the industry, you picture a pinstriped suited male in his 40s reading ‘The Financial Times’. You don’t need to read the FT to be an investor. That’s what I want to bring out.”
The role of women in society has been transitioning from solely being homemakers to breadwinners now. Numerous financial bloggers and the current pandemic has spurred the number of women expressing their interest in investments.
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SHEinvests is an educational platform to provide women with the confidence and comfort to talk money. The content is purely from Iman’s experience and knowledge of the nitty-gritty of the financial world. She has paid careful attention to the branding and terminology to ensure the accessibility of her platform.
By incorporating new features, like the dictionary and bookmark, the aim is to facilitate users to learn the definitions of unfamiliar words like “equity” and “stock” as well as return to their reading material.
Iman is enthusiastic to start her webinars and online courses with advanced animations and interactive sessions so that “females can feel confident to pick or join an investment firm and start investing their money”. She is working towards her Chartered Financial Analyst Qualification after which she will be able to add advisory services to her company.
“I am knowledgeable on the subject and that’s why I can give out the education. Do your own due diligence and research because I can’t tell people what to invest in”.
She goes on to draw parallels between the finance and fitness industry: “If we look at the fitness industry for the past 20 years, it was completely male dominated. The gym shock came about and that changed the entire narrative around fitness.”
The myths about the investment sector need to be busted for which social media influencers can create that shift.
“There are so many finance and investment podcasts that you can scour on Apple and Spotify and no one is talking to your average and daily beauty blogger. These girls who are looking fabulous all the time, that comes from money.”
Iman has been working towards getting beauty and fashion onto her podcast to encourage women to save and invest their income rather than spending it all.
Besides, Indian households refrain from talking about money. “Not making it taboo is what’s going to change the mindset.”
Besides, with lectures at schools and corporate events coming her way, Iman has been working towards bringing together a team of talented researchers who can provide market analysis for her audience.
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Iman prefers setting her goals into short, medium and long term to motivate savings. “You need to have things to look forward to and creating goals for your money gives you that.”
According to her, a Google spreadsheet does a perfect job of identifying the monthly income and expenditure.
“You are accounting yourself to those expenses by putting in the values and registering what is going out of your bank account.”
She points to the importance of holding an emergency fund worth three or six months of wages to secure your future. So that any situation that doesn’t suit you right, whether it is your relationship or your job, the savings can help you move on.
Maintaining can be an arduous and lengthy task depending on your spendthrift nature. But Iman believes that it is a lifestyle you adopt that will make you healthier. In order to stay in line with your goals and pots: “Even if it is 5 pounds, put it aside because it’s going to create a habit.”
She began thinking differently about money when she saw her money accumulate; “I then wanted to put more in”.
Based on personal experience, Iman suggests investing and managing your own portfolio to widen your knowledge about the current market scenario. “That way when you go for interviews, you can talk about the management of your own portfolios, the decisions and risks taken.”
Iman has started offering A-level and university students an opportunity to formulate papers and gain experience for their further endeavours.
Some of her top tips: “The relationships that you sustain with your colleagues is going to take you a long way ahead. It is not all about the company you work for. It’s how you work at that company and network that’s going to help your career, and not a title at a branded firm.
“Build confidence in talking to senior members of staff. Directors love when you send them an email saying you are interested in their team and want to know a little bit more.”