The Financial Education Network (FEN) sought to address the core question on the role of financial literacy in addressing individuals’ financial resilience at its National Financial Literacy Symposium (NFLS) 2022 themed ‘Advancing Financial Literacy Towards Rebuilding Financial Resilience
’ held from 11 to 12 October 2022, at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia.
The first plenary discussion covered a ‘Diagnosis of Financial Literacy in Malaysia: Where Are We?
’ with guest speaker, Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive Officer, The Money and Pensions Service UK, providing a UK perspective in her presentation on money and pensions.
The panel discussion that followed looked at financial literacy from three different angles – the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Malaysians’ financial capability and literacy, and on Malaysians’ retirement funds, as well as perspectives from a retail bank and its foray into providing financial literacy to school children, the underserved segments and small savers.
Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, Deputy President, Malaysian Economic Association moderated the discussions with panel speakers Nor Rafidz Nazri, Director of Financial Inclusion Department, Bank Negara Malaysia; Nurhisham Hussein, Chief Strategy Officer, Employees Provident Fund; and Jay Khairil Jeremy, Chief Executive, Bank Simpanan Nasional.
The panel also deliberated on issues such as indebtedness, digital financial literacy, and the need to consider other sources of funding for retirement.
Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Capability and Inclusion Demand Side (FCI) Survey 2021
highlighted that 30% of respondents claimed to have too much debt. The survey also revealed that 37% of respondents were willing to share their passwords and/or personal identification number of bank accounts with close friends, which expose users to the risk of online fraud.
On retirement funds, it was discussed that the majority of Malaysians depended on their EPF savings as their sole means of funding their retirement and this is a matter of concern as currently, 52% of EPF members had less than RM10,000 in their accounts. According to the EPF, it would take about RM600,000 to have a 'dignified' retirement
in Kuala Lumpur.
A unifying theme for the panel discussion pointed to a collaborative effort by regulators, policymakers and the private sector as an important requirement to advance Malaysia's level of financial literacy, with a segmented approach for different target audiences and their specific needs.
- Nor Rafidz Nazri, Director of Financial Inclusion Department, Bank Negara Malaysia
- Nurhisham Hussein, Chief Strategy Officer, Employees Provident Fund
- Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, Deputy President, Malaysian Economic Association
- Jay Khairil Jeremy, Chief Executive, Bank Simpanan Nasional
- Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive Officer, The Money and Pensions Service UK