The Future is Female, a full day conference held on 8th April 2017, was packed with 11- panel discussions on managing personal finance and career growth. From dishing out investment hacks to investment strategies, the conference curated by The New Savvy empowered its female-only audience with the confidence to take calculated risks and plan for a better future.

One message stayed clear throughout The Future is Female – language should not prevent you from progress. Wade through the jargon, redefine your conversational skills with firmness, have open conversations, and leave no doubt behind.

Language & Female: Stop saying ‘I Think’

We know the language can influence decisions and reactions. However, few of us are aware that we should minimise the use of emotional terms and highlight our strengths in a proactive manner. The audience was clearly reminded of that during the second panel discussion.

Tjin Lee, Founder and Organiser of Audi Fashion Festival Singapore and many other female-oriented companies like Mercury Marketing & Communications and Treehaus, illustrated the importance of language in a succinct way.

“The men that I employ are very quick to book my time to have a conversation after a successful project. They would list what they successfully accomplished before or after they ask for a promotion.”

“Instead of starting with ‘I think’ or ‘I guess’, they begin with ‘I deserve’. It’s time we do the same too.”

Managing Emotions in Investing

Focusing on women, the conference naturally covered the topic of emotions influencing decisions and varying gender approaches to investing. The array of diverse perspectives from the panellists kept the discussion balanced and well rounded. While some felt that women invest differently from men, others suggested otherwise.

Several motioned that emotions can cloud judgement, mislead us to time the market and doubt ourselves. Highlighting that investing with emotions is not necessarily bad, a few panellists observed that we are more committed and would be less keen on taking uncalculated risks unless we are 80% confident in our decision.

Some panellists pointed out that it is much easier to remove emotion from investment nowadays because there are many alternatives available, like the Regular Shares Savings (RSS) Plan. Offered by most local banks, such RSS Plans can help you invest in exchange-traded funds in your selected industries. Thus, you do not have to manage the buying and selling of your shares.

Let's Talk About: The Future Is Female
Have a set of values to guide you in what whatever choices you make.

Regardless of the benefits and disadvantages of being emotionally driven, Tamara Singh, Business Manager at GIC and Rachel Lim, Co-founder of Love, Bonito stressed that having a clear set of values is crucial. Rejection is not easy but you should align your decisions based on your set of values to reach your long-term goals.

Many female panellists also emphasised the importance of taking the plunge even though you are not entirely confident of your decision. Find your comfort level and let your confidence guide you!

So how can women gain the confidence to start investing?

Key takeaways from the conference
Research, Research and Yes, Research

Research as much as possible on a chosen company or industry. In today’s digital age, information is abundant – feigning ignorance is not a valid reason!

A simple hack is to focus on what you like. It is not a good idea to focus on a company you do not know just because you have seen coverage of it from the social media and in the news. You might be swayed by the different opinions on the company without knowing enough about its business. This presents a possible loophole that may lead you to wrong investment decisions.

Focus on what you know well and you are interested in.

This will enable you to invest smartly and keep abreast of the sector’s information.

Research is not a new skill in this digital era. Most of us have done some research when we purchased a big-ticket item or when we have more than one equally desirable choices. In this case, investment is definitely a big-ticket item with many options!

Important Facts About ETF Investing In Singapore

Many panellists were also quick to remind that research is not limited to online readings. It also includes experiencing the services or products produced by the company. If you are interested in retail, head out to your favourite mall and people watch! You can also buy the gadget produced by a certain company, use it, and experience the post-sale customer service.

Let's Talk About: The Future Is Female
If you’re interested in commercial real estate investment, have coffee and watch the patron and tenant flow.

‘Have coffee, sit and watch the crowd, take note of the tenants. How long has that shop been there, how fast did that lot change owners? Are most patrons purchasing items, or are most window shopping? Always take the time to do your surveys,’ Bernard Lim, Executive Director of Columbia Threadneedle Investments emphasised.

Focus on What You Know, and Cut Through the Noise

At least one panellist in each panel discussion encouraged the audience to focus on what they are interested in and have some knowledge on, and do as much research as possible.

‘Don’t be afraid of the jargon [they] throw. Nobody really knows anything,’ joked Andy Lim from JL Family Office, a multi-generation property investment company.

The Future is Female Conference 2017
Don’t be afraid. Nobody really understands all that jargon!

To understand technical terms better, know what you want and read up on common investment terms. When you seek out a potential financial advisor, you will be able to explain your interests easily. Your advisor will then be able to suggest potential investment opportunities that are relevant to your interest easily.

Take all advice with a pinch of salt.

Always research first and not act on it immediately. When a relative or friend encourages you to invest in a certain stock because they made a profit, remember to do your own research instead of accepting this advice.

Read up and understand why the performance of the stock has improved – what did the company do right? Is this an industry you’re interested in?

Rebalance Your Portfolio With the Right Investment Strategy

A rule of thumb is that you are less likely to gain as much when you invest in a stock based on someone’s recommendation as compared to when you invest in a stock at its pre-appreciation price.

Embark on a Journey

‘What next, then?’ an audience member asked during one of the panel discussions.

‘So come Monday, what do I do first if I’ve done my research and know what I want?’

‘You open a brokerage or a RSS account,’ Lynn Gaspar, Senior Vice Present, Head of Intermediaries & Retail Clients at SGX suggested. ‘Share your specific interests with your fund manager and have a conversation. Then watch your investment take a journey.’

The Future is Female Conference 2017
What do we do next?

At the end of the conference, everyone looked satisfied with the knowledge they have gained. After the lucky draw winners were announced, Anna Haotanto, Founder of The New Savvy gave a short speech.  The audience then gathered their writing materials and trooped out to the lobby to enjoy a glass wine and continue to network with the few panellists who remained.

Thank you to all who attended The Future is Female Conference 2017! The New Savvy team hopes those who had invested in the conference are now financially and emotionally empowered with the right tools start their investment journey for a better financial future.

Edited by Joanne Ng


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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva