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Improving financial well-being through financial education and financial consumer protection policies

Bank Negara Malaysia in collaboration with the OECD International Network on Financial Education (INFE) hosted a high-level Global Symposium on Financial Well-Being which concluded today in Kuala Lumpur. The two-day event was attended by more than 230 participants from over 50  countries comprising representatives from central banks, regulatory authorities, government ministries and agencies, academic institutions, international organisations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

With the theme “Building on the momentum and identifying new paths”, the symposium aimed to identify innovative financial education and consumer protection policies and strategies to build the momentum towards improved financial well-being and to advance financial literacy initiatives.

Participants deliberated on optimal policy strategies in integrating financial education and consumer protection measures to improve the financial well-being of individuals and communities.

Approaches to financial education have become at the same time more strategic and more specific in reaching target audiences. The symposium discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with financial education approaches for different target audience groups, including the youth, seniors, and micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The deliberations also examined the role of technology and its impact on how financial education programmes are designed and delivered.

The Symposium was held back to back with the 4th OECD/INFE technical committee meeting which saw the completion of the work to develop a policy handbook on national strategies for financial education and core competencies on financial literacy for youth, two key deliverables in the area of financial literacy under Turkey’s G20 Presidency.

Based on the recommendations put forward in these documents, members of the OECD/INFE and participants of the symposium agreed on the need to further enhance research and data collection on financial education and wellbeing that may include cross-country surveys and assessments on financial literacy. Member countries are also committed to continue sharing practices and results of impact assessments to improve the effectiveness of financial education and consumer protection policies. These efforts are ongoing and will be further deliberated at the next meeting of the OECD/INFE to be held in Amsterdam from 19-21 April 2016.