On this International Women’s Day, we all need and deserve some joyful, inspiring, and uplifting stories. After all, a lot has happened since March 8, 2020.
My 2021 paper “Hear Me Roar”, which I released today, contains 58 investment success stories from savvy women from around the world.
Women don’t tend to brag about making money, but they do in this report, and the women and their daughters can learn a lot from them. In honor of today’s celebration, I’m going to share five of my most compelling accomplishments.
Jessica Wu, Associate, HFT Investment Management, Shanghai
“I grew up in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. My life took a big turn during my first year of college when I won first place in a national performance competition and became an actress. Life was exciting and challenging. I did film and other acting parts during my college years while completing my studies. I was on the fast track in my career as a young actress. It was a glamorous and well-paid job, however, I knew deep down that the profession did not satisfy my curiosity and intellectual need. I wanted to know more.
“I decided to leave the industry and went to the UK to become a master’s student studying management at the University of Glasgow. I changed careers from leisure to finance, I was keen to go for the toughest and most prestigious exam in the industry, which is why I chose the CFA program and completed A Level 2 so far. I knew that as a candidate with a non-traditional background, the most important thing was my willingness and willingness to learn constantly and work hard to back it up.
“My passion for asset management grew when I noticed how China’s economic growth was creating institutional investors — sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, pension funds and endowments — that were not only growing in size, but also looking for more professional management of their assets. The product range has also evolved, and more money is going into equities, fixed income, balanced funds, and alternatives, as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
My best investment? In early 2020, I invested in Pinduoduo Inc. (PDD.US) – a Chinese e-commerce platform – and so far my return rate has been 264%! With a total merchandise volume of $215 billion – essentially the total amount of merchandise sold on its platform – Pinduoduo has a long growth path still ahead of it in this huge, fast-growing market.”
Bishat Araya, singer, Stockholm
I was born in Gothenburg in southern Sweden and lived with my single mother and brother. We moved to Ethiopia, where my mom is from, for a year when I was seven. When I was 13, I wrote my first song and after I performed it at my school graduation party, with great response, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a musician. I have worked in different countries: London in the UK, Germany, Los Angeles in the US, and today Stockholm is my home again.
“Artists and musicians are usually quite scattered about their finances, but this coronavirus crisis has taught me the importance of having savings. I realized I needed to be disciplined about saving on a monthly basis and investing what I could, big or small. Stock price movements and I learned something about myself… I love trading!
“This market has been a wild ride – I’ve made a lot of money in a short period of time on stocks like Volvo, Power Cell, Arise, Beyond Meat and Bambuser. In a few weeks I’ve made 30% on Volvo, 50% on Bambuser – a Swedish live video shopping tech startup – and doubled my stock in EPR Properties. My portfolio is over 60%. volatility.”
Ellen Rosman, Consumer Advocacy and Personal Finance Writer, Toronto
“I started investing with a broker in the early 90’s. Then, in early 2008, I started an investment club. I’m very grateful to one woman in particular who introduced our group in 2011 to Constellation Software – an international company that provides market-leading software and services to a number of industries, in both the public and private sectors.
She told us that the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) was about to sell their stake in the company and this would be a good time to buy. I bought a small position at $110 per share, and over the years it has just kept growing and growing. 0% below its all-time high.
“I usually like to own dividend-paying stocks — Constellation only pays a small dividend. But I made an exception — the CEO seems to have a magic touch for finding good companies to buy. He no longer does analyst meetings.”
Elisabeth Holmenlund, CFA, Vice President, Capital for Management, CopenhagenDenmark
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in my profession, but thanks to some scholarships and grants from various institutions in Denmark as well as generous government educational support from the Danish state, I was able to move to London to study economics and management at the London School of Economics. When I started at the London School of Economics, I had never heard of investment banking, but while there I became fascinated with finance.
“After graduation I went to work at JP Morgan in London and stayed there for almost six years. It was the first time I had been able to invest and manage my own money. I had always been very aware of the need for diversification, and because my employment risk was with JP Morgan, I thought I had to limit my personal investment in the company. As part of our compensation package we received stock options and many people were holding on to them as they were granted gradually over time. To diversify my risk, my strategy has always been Is to sell my shares as given on the first day of the trading window.This strategy is not specific to JP Morgan and by the way it was very nice to own but for me this was a pure risk management strategy and it paid off really well.Another thing that worked for me was converting all my rewards from GBP to USD.Since all my profits were in GBP but my investments were in USD this was a way to sell pounds as a hedge and also match the currency of my investment assets With the currency of my daily needs.
“Outside of my equity strategies at JP Morgan, I have to say that I am very boring when it comes to investing my own money. I don’t want a complicated approach and I don’t want to pay management fees if I can avoid it. I think that’s the result of me studying to become a chartered holder of CFAs and working many years in the investment industry. I know it’s almost impossible to beat the market and I don’t think I’m smarter than the rest of the market. So why try? Also, I look at investments all day for my job and I don’t want to do It’s in my spare time too! I invest exclusively in the MSCI World ETF and in 2016 – my best year – made a 30% return.”
Ng Shin Ein, Founding Partner, Grievous Capital, Singapore
“I was born in Singapore and my younger sister and I were raised in a traditional Asian family. My grandparents’ generation treated boys and girls very differently: boys were groomed to take over the family business, and if there was enough money for one’s education, it would be for the son. Fortunately, my parents’ generation was more advanced and my sister and I had important learning opportunities. We were not formally taught about finance, but my father was a businessman who cared a lot about long-term investment. Rather than giving us gifts or money to reward us for grades The good one, he was giving us shares in the stock. I made my first investment at the age of 13 in a Singapore listed company called Overseas Union Trust (now delisted). This was done by proxy as my father held the share certificates, but I made the decision on when to sell. I held it for about a year and a half, and later sold it very early because the value was realized when it was privatized.
“For me, investing isn’t just about returns. It’s about the excitement of uncovering a good founder and team with potential. Business and investment bring that extra spark into my life, and I absolutely love it. My best investment ever was in a China-focused startup that’s become a unicorn: Lalamove, a last-mile logistics company that operates in more than 80 cities in China. I backed them very early on, and today their valuation is over $2 billion.”
“The founder of Lalamove, Shing Chow, came from a poor family in Hong Kong but had tremendous tenacity and a way of thinking that was out of the ordinary. He quit Bain after college to become a professional poker player and made millions over seven years. I loved his spirit and how determined he was! You must feel passionate about the work and the founders. I am looking for companies that will disrupt and offer a better solution to current problems.”
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, here’s a toast to women who are proud. And to the millions of money-making women everywhere in 2021 and beyond!
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, it should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of the CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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