Overview

Research shows that over 70% of women are dissatisfied by the services offered by financial institutions. This case study looks at how Sallie Krawcheck created and evolved Ellevest, an investment platform which is “gender-aware” and simultaneously helps women reach their financial goals, in order to address the many challenges that women face when investing.

Course Topics:
  • Gender analysis
  • Finance and investing
  • Innovation
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Business design

Introduction:

Women in the United States are expected to control 51% of personal wealth by the end of 2020 and are set to inherit US$28.7 trillion in next 40 years. Yet research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group in 2016 suggests that 71% of women are dissatisfied by the services offered by their financial institution. This lack of financial services that fulfill women’s needs presents an opportunity for business, which financial institutions have begun to notice. It is also an opportunity for new ventures that would seek to prioritize the needs of women investors.

Ellevest is a robo-advisor that provides customized recommendations on how investors can allocate their funds in different assets in order to meet their goals. It was founded by Sallie Krawcheck in 2014 to “get more money in the hands of women”. To create an investment platform which is “gender-aware” and simultaneously helps women reach their financial goals, Krawcheck included considerations such as a gender-specific salary curve, longer lifespan, and differing retirement investment priorities.

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This case was written by:

This case was written by Sonal Gupta and Bashir Chalabi. The authors prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Sarah Kaplan, with guidance from Bonnie Lam and Vanessa Serra Iarocci and research assistance from Carmina Ravanera. The authors are grateful for the participation of Sylvia Kwan in this project.

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