Saturday, March 15, 2014

Improving financial literacy

Ang Yee Gary asked:
How do we raise the financial literacy of singaporeans? Should it be the job of govt or private sector?

The Government had been adopting the wrong strategy to raise financial literacy of the citizens. This is why so little is achieved after putting in so much effort.

The starting point should be to make sure that fair and trusted financial products are available to consumers. The financial literacy program can then educate consumers about these products.

This requires the government to come forward and tell the public which are the fair and trustworthy products. If they are not willing to take this action, who does the public believe? They can be easily conned by crooks, who make false promises.

In most countries, the regulatory agencies will take action against bad products and bring the wrong doers to court. But, the authorities in Singapore prefer to avoid this responsibility.

There are very few financial products being sold in Singapore that can be considered to be fair and trustworthy. Most of the financial institutions compete to bring out products that are confusing to consumers and have hidden charges to boost their profits.


yujuan said...

Not willing to police the dirty job to be responsible for financial products sold to consumers, the Govt is leading example for Public Institutions and civil servants to follow the cue, likewise holding off responsibility and accountability in their work, as seen in the Police cock up of handling the Little India riots.
What an easy job for our regulator MAS. "OK folks, jaga your own money, check my website to choose bona fide products to invest, wrong choice, you dig your own grave, dun blame us."
That's the message we get.

zhummmeng said...

Our regulator is unlike the no nonsense UK regulator , FSA.Many insurers have been fined heavily, by the hundred of million pounds for dubious products that their agents likely to misrepresent and miss-sell to the public. This is the kind of regulator that Singapore must have, otherwise the CEOs will pay themselves huge salaries by 'rewarding' insurance agents with huge commission to push expensive whole life and endowment products with huge commission.
You see who is the loser?
If the regulator is not helping the public the protection the consumers have is NOT to buy from agents but to buy direct or online on the 1st of June.

zhummmeng said...

Mr. Tan, may I suggest talks on the following subjects to consumers to help them understand their rights and protection.
1.the changes for the consumers effective 1st June 2014;
Consumers can buy directly from insurers without paying the hefty commission......the products are term insurance ,limited payment whole life, endowment and medical insurance
2.effective 31st December...they can use the web aggregator by MAS to compare the products they want to buy.
3. Do Not Call registry (DNC) consumers who do not want insurance agents to call to pitch or sell them products can register their mobile and fixed line phone number in the registry.
4. Personal Data Protection Act....
consumers must be aware that their personal details cannot be shared , reused by agents with others.
5.The Harassment Act....consumers especially passers by at mrt, the mall, bus terminals or anywhere have the right to be left alone and if being stopped , harassed delayed , detained by the insurance agents to listen to their product pitch can call in the police to lodge a complaint against the agents for harassment.
I hope you can educate the consumers and public on these areas.

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