How did you get involved in financial services?
I was strong at mathematics and economics at university and a professor suggested I consider post-graduate studies in actuarial science and portfolio theory. I was lucky enough to be offered a position three years later at an entrepreneurial investment management company that, over time, shaped my career for the next 20 years.
I always wanted to do something meaningful that would make a difference to people’s lives and I am now in the fortunate position to best apply my skills to help people retire comfortably and enjoy financial success.
“The barriers to entry have become less pronounced.”
– Sonja Saunderson
How easy is it for South African women to succeed in the financial services industry?
Although still very male dominated, I have in my career seen a lot of formidable women coming through the ranks and playing an increasingly important role in the financial services industry.
The barriers to entry have become less pronounced. As long as women stay focused and work hard, I think they will continue to be increasingly successful contributors to financial services.
How can South African women be encouraged to invest more?
Women often still battle a wage gap for the same job as men. Women tend to be too careful with their money and, therefore, do not take appropriate risks. Women also tend to live longer than men. I think education and access to appropriate investment opportunities remain the biggest challenges for South African women. The more they know about investments and options, the greater confidence they will have about their own and their family’s futures, and the better equipped they will be to make sound financial decisions aligned to their long-term plans.