Blair calls for targeted financial education

Robyn Hall

December 6, 2011

She believes EIOPA has a key role in terms of sharing good practice and promoting transparency, simplicity and fairness.

Speaking at EIOPA’s inaugural consumer day conference in Frankfurt, Blair set out the widespread need for improved financial education, increased financial capability, better generic advice and access to simpler products that meet customer needs.

She said: “Regulators collectively need to identify and understand where, why and how consumer detriment arises.

“The ESAs have a good opportunity to promote a cultural change in the industry in Europe, to help ensure that financial products and services meet key needs, provide value for money and treat customers fairly.”

Blair said that consumers need to have more confidence and trust in the financial services industry and that it was important that they develop good money habits so that they can manage their money on a day-to-day basis.

“A focus on targeted financial education and, over the longer term, improved financial capability would help give consumers the tools they need to make more informed choices about their financial well being,” she said.

“But this is a long haul as currently financial literacy skills are not high and consumers do not always make rational decisions.

“In the meantime, consumers in their respective national markets would also benefit from access to appropriate generic financial advice and simpler products.

“More choice and rampant innovation are not always good for consumers. A set of reliable and trusted products, for instance around saving, protection and retirement, could make a real difference.”

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