Sally Bridgeland, chair of Impax Asset Management and former CEO of BP pension fund, shares her inspiration to join the investment world and why the future for women in investing is bright.
What or who inspired you to work in investing?
It’s my cousin’s fault. I’d just qualified as an actuary when he invited me to join his investment club. I’d been advising pension schemes on funding but not thinking much about the investment side – at the time they were using peer group benchmarks. The club made me realise that stock picking is hard.
What do you think the future looks like for women in investing? What would you like to see?
I think the future for women in investing is really bright. Girls are doing brilliantly at maths so have nailed the quant skills, from behavioural finance we know that women are good at risk-adjusted returns, and with the range of risks and a good imagination for the financial and social impacts, it’s a great career choice. But, most of all, I like to see men and women working together as long-term investment is about teams not egos.
What is your attitude to investment risk?
My actuarial and pensions heritage gives me a long-time horizon, a thematic perspective and a vivid imagination for what might go wrong with our world. So I’m willing to take a position and invest in innovation that will really do good and genuinely hedge long-term risk, rather than simply tweak the risk to reduce the downside in the short term.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Pausing time, so that people can take a breath and have time to smile, rather than rushing into decisions or arguments.
Tell us your moto or if you don’t live by one, why not?
Do what you’re good at and passionate about, and see where it takes you.