ELLE: Monday, June 24th 2013
Because he wanted a transparent and objective index for evaluating the safety of financial products, and there wasn’t one, Michael Heijmeijer, capital market specialist living in Vaud canton, created one. It’s called the Safety Margin Index (SMI), a system of dynamic scoring that calculates a “safety index” for 15 million financial products around the world, and that is aimed at the general public. Interview.
The index is aimed at the general public but, you say, women could be particularly interested. Why is this ?
Today, 90% of the funds invested in capital markets originate with the general public, but only 1% of people are really aware of what is going on behind the scenes. Everyone else is driven by their feelings, by opinion, and by the misleading information that is generally put out to serve the personal interests of those in power. The index gives people access to objective and general facts.
As far as women in particular are concerned, they need to feel safe and confident when investing in the financial markets. The SMI index gives them this protection because it delivers facts in real time completely objectively and transparently. Advisors, bankers, friends take second place along with their prejudices, personal interpretations and hidden agendas. Women no longer need to get an outside opinion to understand the current risk involved in a product. They can make their decision independently, which gives them a new financial freedom.
Based on your experience in the financial sector, do you think women behave differently than men where risk is concerned ?
I think women have a different definition of risk than men, which stems from their personal experience, the way they were brought up, and the way they see things. They are, in general, more practical, but they also have an emotional tie to the financial product itself. As far as risk is concerned, women are more systematic and less “greedy” than men. Unlike men, they don’t seek out any opportunity at any price, but they do know how to recognize opportunities they come across and to seize them. Women are more coherent in their investment style. The limits of what they want are better defined, and they stick to them.
How easy is it to understand the index if you aren’t a professional ?
It works very simply. I’d compare it to a car mechanic. When someone brings in their car, they don’t necessarily know anything about mechanics and they have to trust him. The situation is the same with your banker. Only, now, the index has changed things. The person who goes to see their banker now has enough knowledge to analyse the risk level of each of the financial products that are offered to them. They have everything they need to analyse the banker’s proposal. But they still don’t need to know all the technical details of the financial product. It enables people to be self-reliant.
How does the index work ?
We use big data, cloud computing and information on 15 million products – shares, funds, derivatives, even ethical products – that we score on our “safety” scale between 0 and 100%. Choosing a product and timing a transaction can now be done with complete knowledge of the safety and risk involved. What’s more, we have an interactive alert system as soon as a certain level of risk or safety is reached. Investors can then decide if they wish to hold, buy or sell a product.
Do you need to subscribe to your website to access the index ?
The foundation set up by cfinancials will enable the public to access the index for free. The public will soon be protected from all sorts of interpretations, preconceptions and hidden interests, and will obtain objective, transparent information, in real time, and available to all, via the foundation’s website cfinancials.org