National Financial Literacy Symposium 2022 to advance Malaysia’s financial literacy agenda

The Financial Education Network (FEN) recently concluded the two-day National Financial Literacy Symposium (NFLS) 2022. The NFLS 2022 discussed multifaceted issues surrounding financial literacy and inclusion, intended to elevate financial capability of Malaysians. The symposium was co-hosted by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) and Bank Negara Malaysia, in collaboration with the Malaysian Economic Association (MEA), in conjunction with the FEN’s Financial Literacy Month (FLM) 20221, a month-long event held every October.
Themed ‘Advancing Financial Literacy Towards Rebuilding Financial Resilience Post-Pandemic’, the symposium brought together researchers, academics and think tanks with policymakers and industry practitioners. The aim is to generate new ideas towards achieving the strategic outcomes envisioned in the Financial Sector Blueprint 2022 - 2026 and the National Strategy for Financial Literacy (2019 - 2023).
During the Keynote Address of NFLS 2022, Deputy Governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour highlighted that “insights from the research are important to develop targeted interventions that address the financial education needs among our population”.
The Financial Capability and Inclusion Demand Side (FCI) Survey 2021 which was recently published in BNM’s First Half 2022 Financial Stability Review, revealed a mixed effect of the pandemic on the financial capability of Malaysians. The pandemic has positively nudged Malaysians to navigate their financials more carefully during difficult periods, although many struggled to take appropriate steps to gain control of their situation.
“Therefore, findings from the FCI Survey 2021 have provided valuable input in re-focusing the implementation of National Strategies for Financial Literacy 2019 - 2023”.
According to Tan Sri Dr. Rahamat Bivi Yusoff, Chairman of PIDM, “The symposium has uncovered a wealth of research on financial literacy. We are seeing some valuable insights that can help policymakers, industry practitioners and proponents of financial literacy to develop more effective strategies in delivering sustainable and impactful financial education to Malaysians”.
The NFLS 2022 was held with the objective to catalyse research on financial literacy to bridge theory and practice, bringing more evidence-based approaches to policy- making and strategy implementation to achieve the outcomes envisioned.
The symposium featured a range of speakers, moderators, panellists, including senior representatives from FEN, the financial industry, academia and think tanks, as well as international participation from the Money and Pensions Service United Kingdom (MaPS), Behavioural Insights Team, and other multilateral institutions such as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and the World Bank Group.
A call for papers was conducted prior to the NFLS 2022, with 62 research abstract submissions received from local and abroad and this was further shortlisted to 20 papers covering various dimensions of financial literacy, which include:
  • Consumer experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The nexus of financial literacy policy and financial inclusion
  • Financial behaviours of youths and millennials
  • Digital financial literacy
Awards were presented to the three best papers. They were:
  • ‘Does Financial Literacy improve Financial Inclusion in Developing Countries? A Nonlinearity and Quantile Regression Analysis’ by Abd Rahim Md Jamil, Law Siong Hook, and Mohamad Khair Afham (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia);
  • ‘The Impact of Classroom Financial Education Program: An Experimental Study Among Low Self-Control Young Adults’ by Amer Azlan Abd Jamal (Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia), Karen Rowlingson (University of York, United Kingdom) and Lee Gregory (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom); and
  • ‘Supporting SMEs Financial Resilience during Crises: A Framework to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Programs Targeting SMEs’ by Dalal Aassouli (Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar) and Habib Ahmed (Durham University, United Kingdom).
The 20 selected papers will be accorded with an opportunity to be published in a special edition academic journal.

About Financial Education Network (FEN)

Established in November 2016, FEN serves as an inter-agency platform to increase the impact of financial education initiatives and identify new opportunities to elevate financial literacy among Malaysians through greater alignment, closer collaboration and strong focus on impact assessments. Its members include the Ministry of Education Malaysia, Ministry of Higher Education, Bank Negara Malaysia, Securities Commission Malaysia, Employees Provident Fund, Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit, Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia and Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

1 FLM is an annual flagship event for FEN which features a multitude of financial education (FE) initiatives that aims to surface and address key financial issues faced by the public. In past years, the FLM has gained extensive reach, with 250 programmes organised to more than 14 million Malaysians during FLM2020 and FLM2021.
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