SDW Spotlight – Sumita Paul

Spotlight featuring a Superdiverse leader 

Sumita Paul, Head of Distribution, Openly Investing 

What makes you different?  
I don’t think I am special or different in many ways, but I would say that I fall into the club of motivated mums who want to do best in their careers and support their  families while making a positive impact to our communities.

I grew up in India and my family has a defence background. I grew up with friends from different parts of India, who had very different languages, traditions – an overall culture that was different to my own. I grew up believing in and living with the core value of “Unity in Diversity”.

My 20 year career in estate advice & investment planning gave me an insight into the impact of financial independence. I have seen families break apart, individuals unable to make choices they want in life because of being unprepared.

My keen interest in behavioural finance helped understand how our personalities & environment affect the choices we make. The combination of experience & training in the fiduciary, investment and behavioural finance fields gives me the ability to take a holistic approach to the different financial wellbeing choices people make.

What do you think diverse thinking is?
The ability to view a problem or take a decision by considering different point of views to ones own or using a set familiar path.

Why does it matter?
We live in a diverse world. New Zealand is a diverse country. Auckland is world’s fourth most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Our neighbours, friends, workmates, clients, consumers come from diverse backgrounds. I think diverse thinking is essential to consciously live a full life in today’s world.

How does diversity impact business bottom lines?
The success of any business depends on how well they know their customer and the efficient delivery of the product or service. Unless your business is dealing only with people who are exactly like you, in a country like NZ you run the risk of missing out on potential customers. Most importantly it is essential in creating a smart effective strategy to engage with your customer. You may end up entering into other market segments eventually but the journey could end up being a very expensive learning curve when you disregard diverse points of views.

Now let’s talk about women and financial wellbeing
Why is it important for women to invest in their own financial wellbeing?
A woman’s wellbeing not only impacts her as an individual but due to the multiple roles she plays in the family and the community, it has a much wider impact.

How can women work towards reducing the gender wealth gap?
To start off I would say be aware of the current situation and take an active interest in understanding your current net worth. However, this is not a just a woman’s issue, it is a social issue. People of all genders need to be involved in solving this issue.

Kudos to the leadership shown by Equal Pay – YWCA & Ministry for Women in building awareness and encouraging change.