Girl power in the world of money

Carol Bagnald, HSBC regional commercial director, London, assesses the value of women to the UK economy

The female economy provides so much untapped opportunity both in the UK and globally. The demographics are changing and women control or substantially influence 65 per cent of the world’s $12 trillion in yearly consumer spending.

In the UK, it is estimated that 20 per cent – more than a million – of small and medium-sized businesses are majority women-led, with this number growing year on year, generating more than £130 million. This number is set to double over the next ten years.

We are all aware of the growth coming from emerging markets, such as Brazil, China and India, and the need to look to where we can find the greatest opportunity for our business growth, but research is also telling us that one of the largest potential emerging markets within the world is actually the female economy.

Data from HSBC shows that by 2025 around 60 per cent of the world’s personal wealth will sit with females and 37 per cent of 2012 start-up business customers are female.

Embracing the female economy is of benefit not only to the individuals, whose lives will be enhanced through greater opportunities, but to whole economies and, of course, our own businesses.

Not only are we witnessing more women setting up businesses, but we are also seeing more corporates being influenced by women. More are becoming finance directors, which clearly influences the financial direction of the companies where they work. This is a material change in the value of women in businesses.

It is important to support the continuing drive for more diversity to the ever-increasing need for ongoing cultural adaption in the workplace and HSBC are signed up to support the 30% Club’s diversity initiative.

Carol Bagnald has overall responsibility for HSBC’s commercial business across London; she chairs Celsius, the exclusive top-100 corporate club for chief executives and managing directors, which is part of South London Business, is vice-chairman of West London Business and a member of the CBI London Council.