Monday, 09 March 2015
Malta Bankers’ Association hosts seminar on Financial Literacy as part of first European Money Week
“The banking community considers financial education as a very important issue to be tackled actively. It is an essential component of the empowerment of consumers as it gives them a better understanding of how to manage their finances, and how to avoid unnecessary risks, excessive debt and possibly, financial exclusion. Moreover, it enables people to improve their understanding of the financial opportunities that the products which are available to them may offer.” This was stated by the Secretary General of the Malta Bankers’ Association, James Bonello, in his welcome address at the seminar entitled ‘Financial Literacy – Let’s get focused’. The seminar, which was held at the Le Meridien Hotel, St Julians, formed part of the European Money Week activities organised by the Malta Bankers’ Association, and was targeted at the teaching profession as well as HR personnel from the local banks. The European Money Week consists of a series of events both at national and European levels, with the aim of raising public awareness on financial literacy and improving financial education for students from junior and secondary schools. The overall objective is to improve the level of financial education in Europe.
Mr Bonello added that, “a number of international surveys have shown a rather low level of understanding of financial matters and of basic economics among the average consumer. Even relatively straightforward financial products can appear quite complex to the average citizen who has little or no financial education. Many individuals fail to plan ahead or to choose products that meet their needs. This exposes them to the risk of falling into debt and of experiencing difficulties in the event of some unexpected adverse circumstance. It also makes it harder for individuals to ensure a satisfactory standard of living in retirement. So ultimately, financial education is all about improving the financial well-being of individuals and society.”
The seminar was opened by Joseph Caruana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Education and Employment, and was also addressed by Gaetano Bugeja, Director of the Department of Curriculum Management within the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education , as well as Lorraine Dimech Magrin and Carmen Muscat, both Education Officers within that Department.
Presentations were also given by two foreign speakers: Cameron Leeder, Training and Volunteer Engagement Manager from the Chartered Banker Institute, Scotland, and Daniele Scauso, representing Child & Youth Finance International. The Seminar was concluded with a discussion panel which was moderated by Peter Calleya, Vice-President, Institute of Financial Services, Malta, and the participation of Geoffrey Bezzina, Director, Consumer Complaints Unit, MFSA, Leonid McKay, Director, Caritas Malta and Victor Rizzo Giusti, Financial Consultant.
Apart from the seminar, the European Money Week activities also include students’ visit to the Central Bank of Malta, a Q&A competition for children, a “Money Matters” Programme for around 400 Year 6 pupils at the Education Department’s Home Economics Seminar Centre, as well as various guest appearances on popular TV and radio programmes.
The week will be dedicated to financial education across Europe and will see a wide range of events – national as well as European – designed to boost public awareness on financial literacy and financial education for young people.
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