The UK lags the US when it comes to the risk appetite and sophistication of retail investors. In the US, it is estimated that 56% of US citizens own stocks and shares. This compares to just 14% of UK citizens. Better financial literacy among UK citizens could nurture a more sophisticated investing environment, according to Savova.
“We need general investment in financial awareness and education,” she says. “That’s important and we don’t have that kind of culture in the UK at the moment.” She warns that very few UK retail investors receive any kind of paid-for financial advice. According to OpenMoney’s UK Advice Gap Report last year, just 7% of Brits have paid for advice in the last two years, and this number is steadily dropping year-on-year. “This is partly because advice is often unaffordable,” Savova explains. OpenMoney found that 6 million people in Britain want advice but think it costs too much.
Savova is calling for better financial education, starting within schools. She also wants to see an overhaul of the capital gains tax rules, making stock market participation more attractive to retail investors. “We just don’t have an active retail investor market right now,” she says.
For a listed company, media attention is a double-edged sword. Positive press can send share prices soaring, but negative headlines can do irreparable damage to even the most robust and profitable companies.
For some tech leaders, the UK press has been a force for good on their journeys. “We are primarily a UK consumer brand, so we saw an increase in profile as a locally listed business,” says Moonpig’s MacKinnon.