Women of great wealth are growing in number and influence. Just as women are increasingly creating wealth, there is a global trend of women stepping up to lead their family businesses, family offices and philanthropic foundations, according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Insights 2018. Data from UBS shows that a record 232 women are now billionaires, with a collective net worth of over USD 913bn – up 10 % since 2017.

But while this shift is well documented, its likely results are less well known. Do women have different motivations and expectations in the way they use their wealth? What drives their decision-making? How do they view legacy? And how are they shaping the future?

As wealthy women gain prominence, the answers to these questions are important.

IMD and UBS have released a report titled ‘Perspectives from women of impact’ based on interviews with 40 women – some entrepreneurs, others born or married into wealthy families. The qualitative research carried with women from all over the world, set out to discover their motivations and expectations, and the impact they have on our world. The report, authored by IMD Professor Ina Toegel and Aleksandra Heim, UBS Switzerland AG, Director, show how women are altering society’s views on responsible leadership and shaping the future.

The key findings of the report are:

  • Ultra-high net worth women are commanding more and more global wealth and influence.

They are purpose driven and keen to put their values into action through philanthropy, business and art, and are assuming senior roles in the pursuit of environmental or social change.

  • Wealthy women are redefining legacy.

They believe wealth brings a responsibility to create change, not just to pass money to future generations. They drive impact and influence in three areas: family values and family business; charitable and philanthropic work; and changing business and corporate culture.

There are six different roles that these wealthy women identify with.

  1. Builders – Creating new structures and approaches from scratch
  2. Champions – Using influence to fight for causes
  3. Connectors – Bringing people and groups together
  4. Custodians – Protecting what is valuable
  5. Explorers – Searching for new solutions
  6. Mentors – Nurturing a new generation of leaders

Read the full report