Tuula Jalasjaa, a senior financial services and wealth management executive, is passionate about empowering women with their finances and on increasing female financial literacy rates around the globe. “Throughout my career, I have been continuously exposed to statistics that underscore that women don’t feel confident that they have the tools or the financial knowledge to succeed,” Tuula Jalasjaa says.
And, she should know – Tuula has spent the last 23 years in financial services including leading several key wealth management businesses - HollisWealth, Scotia Private Investment Counsel & Institutional Investment Management Distribution and, Scotia Asset Management US.
Tuula also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, and an ICD designation from the Rotman School of Management Corporate Directors Program. When combined with her boots-on-the-ground experience, Tuula brings stakeholders the benefit of her technical knowledge about markets and investing, her understanding of investor needs, and her ability to see things through a global lens.
On March 8, 2019, International Women’ Day, Tuula launched The Women’s Collection (TWC), to redress what she describes as the gaps in the largely under-served female investor market. Her timing is perfect – IPC Private Wealth estimates that women in Canada will inherit about $900 Billion in assets by 2026.
“Throughout my career, I have met many women who have shared heart-breaking, personal stories about financial crises, poor advice, and missed opportunities that might have been avoided if they had the proper education and tools,” Tuula explains. “I created The Women’s Collection because I fundamentally believe that educating and empowering women holds the key to unlocking the door to economic growth, political stability, and social transformation.”
TWC will deliver the first, female-focused, comprehensive, financial literacy and investment program designed to empower and engage women who want financial freedom and independence. As Former US First Lady and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously said, in her 1996 book, “It takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” it also “takes a village” to accomplish global change—from fighting poverty and disease to female empowerment and financial literacy. “
"TWC wouldn’t exist without the assistance of our founding sponsor, Toronto-based Mackenzie Financial Corp. - Mackenzie is also a member of our advisory and editorial boards - and our Development Partners, Oliver Publishing Inc., and Smart Money Capital Management Inc. As a result of their assistance, TWC is closer to our goal of raising the financial literacy rates of Canadian women and empowering them to take control of their financial futures.”
Putting Our Arms Around The Problem – Some Statistics
A UBS survey of 3,652 high net worth women in nine countries, conducted between September 2017 and January 2019, found that most wealthy women handle the expenses while the men take care of the long-term financial decisions. This means that many women are ill prepared to assume financial control should a critical life event occur. In September 2017, the UK publication, Moneywise, wrote an article that suggested women are less likely than men to invest in the stock market.
In a December, 2016 Huffington Post article titled, “Social Impact Investing – The Woman’s Touch,” the authors state that although women do consider rates of return, they also care about positive environmental and social impact. To address this concern, “Our Smart Money for Her platform that can be found at http://smartmoney4her.ca/ invests in Mackenzie Global Leadership Impact Fund because of its focus – investing in companies that promote gender diversity and women’s leadership.”
In an August 10, 2018 Forbes Magazine article, Joan Kuhl says that women have more fear and stress and are less optimistic about their future financial situation than their male counterparts. Kuhl also suggests that stress about money is becoming a key contributor to female health issues.
TWC boils down the fundamentals. “Most women don’t know, or don’t care, about how to price a bond. And frankly, they don’t need to! Unfortunately many also don’t know what’s in their portfolio or why it was constructed that way, have clearly articulated what they are saving for or why it is important to them, know what fees they are paying, or even what questions to ask their advisors,” Tuula adds.
As a result, women are under served, and are often confused about their options. As well, many will avoid asking questions because they don’t want to look stupid. “Our women-only platform is goals focused, the way women like to tackle financial challenges, and takes into account nuances about how long women live, typical investing styles etc. Smart Money for Her, our customized, cost-effective, and easy to understand robo financial planning tool, not only attracts lower fees, it automatically re balances portfolios for peace of mind,” Tuula explains. “Some clients want the automatic re-balancing and robo digital investing platform. Others only want access to TWC’s educational platform. The platform is flexible and accommodates everyone.”
TWC currently operates on a B2B as opposed to a B2C business model. Women can access TWC programs through their employers and financial advisors. However, Smart Money for Her is accessible today to all Canadian women directly.
Please visit www.thewomenscollection.ca if you are interested in learning more. I am so committed to making female financial empowerment a reality in my lifetime, that I also plan to expand our platform to the Caribbean, the USA, and the Middle East markets over the next 12-24 months.
Paying It Forward
TWC operates as a for-benefit organization in line with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on the Women’s Empowerment Principles. Tuula believes so strongly in the importance of female financial empowerment that TWC will be allocating a portion of profits towards UN global initiatives that support quality education, gender equality, and reducing inequality.
Tuula also financially supports World Vision in Malawi and a Clean Water project. Poverty in Africa (and many other global nations) is linked to a lack of access to clean, safe drinking water, and proper sanitation. Without clean water, it is almost impossible to break out of poverty as women and children often spend hours each day just finding and transporting water. “It is hard to think about finances when you are just focused on survival,” she adds.
Up Close & Personal
Tuula has two teenaged daughters, both very academically focused in high school to maintain their 90 averages. Lauren (18) will be starting a business program at university this fall, and Rachel (15), plays rep soccer, and is an exceptional athlete. “With both parents in business and having MBA degrees, the girls recognize and are prepared to put in the necessary work to become educated, empowered, and, financially responsible.” The antics of their two Cockapoos, white and fluffy, Miley (4), and their 5-month old red-head, Charlie, bring balance and laughter to the whole family.
Tuula and the girls love to travel and to explore different cultures, food, and music . “Travel gets us out of our comfort zones, opens our minds, and encourages us to think differently.” When time allows, Tuula unwinds at a power yoga class. She is also currently putting the finishing touches on a book on financial wellness and empowerment that will be released by the end of the year.
As a last word, Tuula says, “Now that the site is launched, most of my work is largely focused on helping financial advisors and portfolio managers around the world understand how women think about investing, global trends, and the like. I have also conducted many focus groups in the Caribbean and often speak to women’s groups about why they think as they do, educating them on the different options, and improving their financial literacy and empowerment. I am extremely passionate about my work, and want all women, including my two, teenaged daughters, to be financially secure. I love what I do and honestly believe I have found my life’s purpose."
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category.
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