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More women are taking Israel Securities Authority and Finance Ministry examinations to work in the fields of capital markets, investments and finance, according to a survey by the Megamot college.

A total of 41% of all test-takers are women, a 51-percent increase over the past three years. 
 
Overall, the capital market has ceased to be considered a 'masculine' field, reported the college for capital market and finance studies.

In 2004, only 10% of new employees in the field were women, said Megamot college director Naftali Mendelovich. Ten years earlier, women comprised only 6% of workers in the sector.

Mendelovich says women are now turning to all areas of the capital market: investment consulting, portfolio management, pension planning and pension marketing.

Women are seeking a more active role in managing their own savings, capital market investments and pensions, becoming entrepreneurs and establishing women-only investment clubs, Mendelovich says, and this is driving them to work in the field. Furthermore, the sector is more receptive to women.

In addition, women, like men, are entering the sector due to the rising stock market and the implementation of the Bachar capital market reforms, which severed the mutual and provident funds from the banks.

According to the survey, which was based on a sample of 3,000 persons seeking employment in the capital market, half of all students currently studying the field at colleges are relatively mature - aged 40 to 55 - and see this as supplemental to their current career in an entirely different area.

But among these, many - more than 60% - also plan to leave their current field and to make the capital market their main source of income.

The Israel Securities Authority reports that 8,852 applicants took qualification exams for the financial consulting professions in 2006.

In 2005, 5,597 took the exams, and in 2004, 4,012 - marking a 100-percent increase from 2004 to 2006. More than 10,000 people are expected to be tested in 2007.

"The capital market reform has increased competition among financial bodies - banks, investment houses and insurance companies - which creates increased demand for professionals in the consulting and marketing field," Mendelovich said