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Rintaro Tamaki, OECD Deputy Secretary-General - Opening and Closing Remarks


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A transcript of the opening and closing remarks given by OECD Deputy Secretary-General Rintaro Tamaki at the High-level international conference Global and European Trends in Financial Education: New Challenges, Innovation and Measures of Success in Istanbul. Find out more at

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Rintaro Tamaki, OECD Deputy Secretary-General - Opening and Closing Remarks

  1. 1. HIGH-LEVEL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Global and European Trends in Financial Education: New Challenges, Innovation and Measures of Success Co-organised by the OECD and the Capital Markets Board of Turkey with the support of the Turkish Treasury and Central Bank of Turkey OPENING AND CLOSING REMARKS BY OECD DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL RINTARO TAMAKI
  2. 2. 2 OPENING REMARKS Mr (Burhanettin) Aktas, Deputy Undersecretary of Treasury, Dr (Vahdettin) Ertas, Chairman, Capital Markets Board, Distinguished delegates and experts, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning. It is a great honour for the OECD to welcome you all to this important conference co-organised with our partners, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey, the Turkish Treasury and the Central Bank of Turkey as well as the Capital Markets Training and Licensing Agency, with sponsorship from Visa Europe. I would especially like to thank Dr Ertas and Mr. Aktas - for their contribution and leadership, - for hosting this particular event, and the OECD International Network on Financial Education (also called the INFE) meetings that have been held over the last two days. It is a privilege for us all to spend time in this historical, scenic city at the crossroad of Europe and Asia. I am most impressed to hear that almost 70 delegations are represented here today. I thank you all, and especially those who have travelled long distances, for coming. Your commitment to the issues for discussion and debate over the next two days confirms the timeliness and relevance of this event at global and European levels. The title of this event “Global and European Trends in Financial Education: New Challenges, Innovation and Measures of Success” acknowledges the progress that has been made on financial literacy and education issues. However it also underlines what remains to be achieved before we can hail success. With this in mind, ahead of your expert discussion over the course of the conference, I would first like to reflect on our common achievements to date and, second, to shed light on what should be our new frontier – or frontiers. 1) Let me remind you of a few key elements: Financial education has now been fully recognised globally as a key complement to financial consumer protection and financial inclusion - in supporting inclusive growth and financial stability. This reflects the trilogy approach promoted by the OECD. The issue of financial education has been high on the G20 agenda in recent years, particularly since the 2012 endorsement of the OECD/INFE High level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education. These High Level Principles provide the general framework to develop effective financial education interventions in a sustainable, inclusive way while remaining flexible and responsive at a national level. According to the OECD’s most recent survey of countries around the world, as reported in last year’s G20 Russia/OECD publication, more than 50 countries have engaged in the development of such a strategy.
  3. 3. 3 I would particularly like to commend countries that have not only implemented a first strategy but that are now in the process of evaluating and revising it, or designing a new one to meet newly identified challenges. The first session of our programme today will provide relevant insights into these countries’ experiences and know-how. I congratulate Turkey and its Capital Markets Board for designing and implementing a comprehensive financial education strategy with the added objective of enhancing financial inclusion levels in Turkey. Not only are policies being designed to address the populations’ need for financial literacy, but they are now increasingly based on robust evidence. Much of this evidence can - and is - being collected through the international tools and methodologies that were designed by the OECD/INFE and the World Bank - within the Russian Trust Fund - and is welcomed by G20 Leaders in 2013. These tools allow international comparisons of financial literacy levels, and aid policy makers and experts to monitor progress over time. I am glad to announce that a second large scale OECD/INFE survey on financial literacy and inclusion for adults is planned in 2015. All interested countries are of course welcome to take part - as will be highlighted in the session tomorrow morning. Extensive efforts by the OECD/INFE over the last few years have shown that the two particular segments of the population with the strongest need for improved financial literacy are youth and women. The INFE and its expert subgroups have developed policy guidance to help policymakers and practitioners to design interventions adapted to the learning preferences, context and circumstances of these groups. This policy handbook is based on analysis of the evidence gathered in two flagship OECD publications available to you today. In addition, two sets of guidance have been supported and endorsed respectively by APEC Ministers of Finance in 2012 and G20 Leaders in 2013. We may commend ourselves now that we have a well-structured framework and the tools to design effective financial education intervention. And we have identified ways of improving the levels of financial literacy of two important target audiences. We are well positioned to take on the next challenge, albeit the most difficult one, to ensure that policies are successfully implemented and that progress is measured.
  4. 4. 4 2) I would now like to touch on and underline the implementation, delivery and efficiency of the ground still to be covered. We may all agree that the devil is in the detail: it is not enough to have a general framework to design financial education interventions. This framework needs to be implemented - and implemented successfully and effectively - especially for the population most in need. In order to steer this process, the OECD and its INFE are in the process of designing a policy handbook on the implementation of national strategies for financial education. This policy handbook, I am happy to say, should be ready for the Turkish presidency of the G20 next year. One of the important aspects of this implementation is the involvement of private and non–for-profit stakeholders in financial education and the quality of the financial education they provide. Their input is much needed, due to the scarcity of other resources in many countries, but it can also create fresh challenges. The OECD/INFE has therefore designed guidelines to ensure that the initiatives deployed by such stakeholders are used to enhance the financial competencies of the population with a view to promoting their financial wellbeing. An expert roundtable will expand on this during the afternoon and describe how these guidelines are now being put to use by a range of stakeholders. It should be a lively debate. I would like to end my remarks by concentrating on the end users, each and every citizen of your countries. I feel that financial literacy of the youth is our priority. Young generations face a complicated financial system in early adulthood; they will need to be able to make sense of it to make complex financial decisions and identify opportunities for their future. This matters to their long-term financial wellbeing, particularly considering the ageing of the population and shrinking public welfare benefits in many countries. We need to be innovative and forward thinking in developing their knowledge AND skills, and to ensure their success in this fast evolving society. It is particularly relevant, then, that the special session today will examine the innovation in education to seek new and exciting ways to develop the financial skills of our youthful populations. We must also consider how to assess the effectiveness of financial education on young people, particularly as many of the outcomes are not apparent.
  5. 5. 5 A session tomorrow will discuss national and international benchmarks to identify what success means and how we monitor it. The release of the first international PISA results on the financial competencies of 15-year-old students for a range of countries next July will also represent an important milestone in this essential area of work. Lastly, let me highlight another important group of end-users– migrants and their families. They require our joint attention and commitment to be adequately protected and educated when dealing with unfamiliar financial issues and services, including remittances. Important work is currently underway with the OECD/INFE to provide guidance on migrants’ needs for financial education based on good practices. It perfectly complements the supply side approach to supporting migrants and their families through lower-cost remittances that is currently being developed through the G20. A session tomorrow will focus on this transnational target audience and I hope some common perspectives will emerge from the discussion. I now conclude, once again thanking our Turkish hosts for their foresight and collaboration in developing this programme. I look forward to their G20 presidency next year to pursue the collaborative and constructive work on issues relating to financial inclusion and financial education. I would also like to thank you all in advance for your active contribution to this conference and more generally to our INFE work and activities. I invite you all to our next event– the launch of the PISA Financial literacy publication which will be held at the OECD headquarters in Paris on 9 July 2014. The launch is an important indicator of our progress and achievements, and will be opened by the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria; HRH Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Honorary Patron of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion; as well as Mr Francisco Gonzalez, CEO of BBVA, all of whom (or who) provided precious support to the PISA financial literacy project. In the meantime I wish you a very successful and productive conference. Thank you.
  6. 6. 6 CLOSING REMARKS with Mr Bekir Sitki Safak, Acting Chairman, capital Markets Board of Turkey Mr. Bekir Sitki Safak, distinguished guests, experts, Ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon, I am delighted to have the opportunity to wrap up this very productive conference. I wish to start by conveying again my sincere gratitude to our hosts, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey especially, as well as the Turkish Treasury, the Central Bank of Turkey and the Capital Markets Licensing and Training Agency for their dedication in organising this event and for their warm hospitality. I particularly commend the excellent teams who have worked so hard and diligently to make this conference and the INFE meetings earlier this week a success. I would also like to thank VISA Europe for supporting the OECD contribution to this conference. In conclusion today, I would like to re-emphasise how the global financial and economic context as well as demographic and social trends represent both a challenge and an important impetus. The fallout that we have seen borne by individuals, makes a very strong case for enhanced financial education, especially when supportinh improved financial inclusion as well as savvy financial behaviors. This opportunity should not be wasted. I am certain that the Turkish G20 Presidency next year will provide an excellent opportunity to reinforce this message at the highest global policy level. An event such as this one is an excellent indication of what we can achieve by joining forces. I would like to thank you all : INFE delegates, financial education community and supporters, and especially speakers and moderators. Your active participation in this meeting and willingness to share your knowledge and expertise have been instrumental in identifying new and promising areas for future research, analysis and advances. Rather than attempting to summarise the very rich discussion of the last two days, I would like to reiterate a number of key ideas which I hope will provide food for thought:  First, financial education is of key importance for individuals’ financial well being. However for it to be truly meaningful, it should be complemented by suitable financial consumer protection and inclusion efforts within well regulated financial systems. Education, protection and inclusion, otherwise known as the trilogy approach and promoted by the OECD, should also be integrated into a wider approach including prudential regulation and good governance.
  7. 7. 7  Second, I would like to flag the significant progress that we have made in the financial education field allowing us to better know what works – for example: o Well designed and evidence based financial education strategies have a better chance of making a difference in peoples lives. They enable them to make a sound use of the financial services and opportunities available to them. An increasing number of countries are putting such strategies in place. o All stakeholders have a role to play and can usefully partner to support financial education in one way or another. These include governments of course, but also private and civil stakeholders, including the media and the academic community. Yet, to effectively enhance consumers financial competencies, the involvement and interventions of these diverse stakeholders should be coordinated. Simple but essential guiding rules such as the one just finalised by the INFE should be applied when delivering financial education. o Behavioural biases, learning preferences and the interest of various subgroups of the population should be taken into account when deciding on the appropriate policy, communication and educational approach. Young people should remain a priority target as well as groups at risk such as migrants for whom trans-national approaches could be considered. It is also important to identify critical moments when these target groups are most likely to be receptive to learning. o Methods and measures of progress and success -such as the competency framework designed by the OECD and its INFE - are essential to maintain the financial education momentum, strengthen the sustainability of related strategies and initiatives, and improve efficiency and know how.  Third, more still needs to be done to ensure the quality of financial education and to help policymakers make appropriate decisions, thus the importance of developing policies based on evidence, innovation and research: o Beyond measuring levels of financial literacy (as done through the PISA assessment), it is essential to continue evaluating the impact of programmes themselves on individuals and groups at risk. The OECD is committed to promoting these endeavours and to systematically collect available evidence to enhance our global knowledge on effective financial education.
  8. 8. 8 o Innovation in communication and education should be actively harnessed to make financial education more responsive to tomorrow’s challenges and evolution. The development of a series of dedicated MOOCs [Massive Open Online Courses] to support the training of financial education providers, could potentially be designed and made available internationally through the OECD website. o In general, to enhance financial education, design and delivery, further research is required. In order to facilitate and strengthen the dialogue and synergies between research, policy and practice, I am happy to announce that the INFE will establish a dedicated research committee of 15 international experts chaired by Professor Annamaria Lusardi. The contribution of this new committee, our INFE delegates and OECD conference partcipants to all of these endeavours is, and will remain critical, as we strive to attain out goals. Having said that, I hope to see you all in November in Paris for the next INFE meeting and back to back International Global Policy Research Symposium, which the OECD is co-organising for the second year, with the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. In the meantime I wish you all a pleasant weekend in Istanbul and to international experts, a safe trip home. Thank you.