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Public Financial Literacy as the Basis for Financial Stability
14 February 2019
08:30—09:45
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Developing economy and digital technologies stirs public interest to financial tools

A region’s economic development has an impact on personal incomes, while a personal income sets a challenge to find a way to manage it other than just spend it on current consumption. It results in a higher interest in financial tools, which leads to higher financial literacy. If people invest, actively manage their savings and place money in start-ups and small business, it fuels the region’s economic development — Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Russia .

In the 21st century, every person needs knowledge in this area regardless of their occupation, income level and professional aspirations. <…> Each of us constantly faces the need to make certain financial decisions, plan out the family budget. Financial products and tools get more and more complicated — Andrey Bokarev, Director of International Financial Relations Department, Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

The top score in the OECD financial literacy survey is 21. If we turn to Russia, today its score is 12.1, so we are somewhere in the middle, but at the same time <…> we are ranked 9th among G20 countries. Moreover, such leaders of this rating as France and Canada are a long way from top score — Gulezia Imaeva, Chief Executive Officer, NAFI Research Centre.

The Russian Government consistently raises public financial literacy

Starting from 2017, the Government approved the strategy for raising financial literacy. The programme will remain in force until 2023, and all regions are already part of it — Alexey Bobrovsky, Head of the Economic Programme, Russia 24.

The joint project of the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank aimed to raise financial literacy has been in place for almost 9 years. It has trial regions that became part of the project at different stages. <…> They did surveys to track the progress in financial literacy basically every 2–3 years, and the trial regions showed a positive trend <…> we need to adopt best practices and spread them — Gulezia Imaeva, Chief Executive Officer, NAFI Research Centre.

We have managed to achieve a lot over the last 6–7 years, in many ways because the programme was universal and involved educating not only children and students, but adults as well. It was important to engulf both educational facilities and organizations responsible for consumer rights — Andras Horvai, Country Director, Resident Representative for the Russian Federation, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank Group.

We started bringing aboard non-profit organizations and colleges, and at this stage we have created a grant programme. The government is not directly involved anymore. The regional financial literacy centre was launched in 2016, <…> when we selected a non-profit organization that operates this financial knowledge provider — Anton Alikhanov, Acting Governor of Kaliningrad Region.

Digitization helps raise public financial literacy

Digitization opens a much better access to information, including financial services. However, <…> financial literacy starts with the family and every consumer’s individual responsibility — Georgiy Gorshkov, First Deputy President and Chairman of the Management Board, Post Bank.

ISSUES
Financial products become more complicated

The need for comprehensive knowledge of every single product and for maintaining a budget manually in a notebook is a matter of just several years. Then all of it will be replaced by a gadget that will have a better understanding of a person’s long-term needs. The question is whether people would be ready to trust this software and to stop relying on their own knowledge about the financial world — Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Russia .

Low level of financial literacy in some part of the population due to uneven regional development

Urban development level is apparently another major factor for skills. In certain regions that have a significant share of rural population have lower level of skills, because infrastructure is not as good there as in regions with a higher urban development level — Gulezia Imaeva, Chief Executive Officer, NAFI Research Centre.

SOLUTIONS
Raising accessibility and quality of financial services

If we address literacy, we need to improve financial inclusion, service quality, infrastructure and financial environment. We can raise financial literacy through building skills as well — Gulezia Imaeva, Chief Executive Officer, NAFI Research Centre.

The primary thing is how the financial sector offers its services to consumers. The law on self-regulation has been adopted. Under this law, self-regulatory organizations approved standards aimed at providing citizens with the right information and, most importantly, give them the right expectations for the product — Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Russia .

Developing programmes and infrastructure to raise financial literacy

School is the only facility that can introduce financial literacy for everybody instead of making it elective. This universal introduction will impact school children and their parents through them — Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Russia .

Starting from 2011, we have been publishing a course book for high school and college students. Itis called ‘All about future retirement”. <…> We have given over 6 million open classes. <…> We would like to explain pension insurance better through academic programmes. <…> We believe it will stir interest to this product, and when getting a job, young people will ask the right questions — Anton Drozdov, Chairman of the Board, Pension Fund of the Russian Federation.

Comprehensive protection for rights of citizens in digital sphere

People who target active wire transfers demonstrate a good level of financial literacy. At the same time, when it comes to protecting their rights and understanding various forms of potential fraud, they are on the same level as the rest of Russians. Protecting rights in the digital sphere is an aspect that we must carefully consider — Gulezia Imaeva, Chief Executive Officer, NAFI Research Centre.

We are after raising financial literacy. <…> We have created an enormous network of consulting centres. <…> We have a hotline, and over the last year we received over 70 thousand calls just about financial services. <…> The other part of our work is supervision. <…> The have the right of sample purchase for both products and services. Today, we have trials in 10 regions, where we test the methods, including the ones for banking — Anna Popova, Head, Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.

A person needs protection from the financial market and from themselves by dividing them in qualified and non-qualified investors by their incomes and qualification. <…> It is important that the financial sector does not offer people anything excessive – something they do not need, they do not understand or something that by default involves higher risk and requires other knowledge — Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Russia .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS