The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Financial literacy: an essential life skill

Sunday, 12 July 2020, 13:10 Last update: about 23 days ago

Emily Benson

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is the single regulator for financial services in Malta.  Apart from supervising licensed entities, the MFSA is also responsible for consumer education and consumer protection in the financial services sector. The MFSA firmly believes that protecting consumer interests is a key strategic objective as laid out in its Strategic Plan 2019-2021.  This is achieved not only through the supervision of the regulated entities to ensure that they act honestly and in the best interest of customers but also by educating consumers so that they are able to make an informed decision. 

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Financial literacy is an essential life skill.  Surveys have shown that many people do not have the basic financial knowledge. Lacking financial knowledge will put consumers at risk because they will not make the right financial choices. Therefore, educating consumers is key so that they are able to understand the main features of financial products, raise the relevant questions with the service provider before purchasing such products and buy those financial products that are more appropriate to their needs and risk profiles. 

A few days ago, the MFSA launched an informative campaign to raise awareness about different types of home insurance covers available to consumers. The term home insurance is often used to refer to insurance that covers both the physical structure as well as its contents. However, it should not be taken for granted that a building insurance policy automatically covers the contents as well. The scope of the campaign is to highlight the fact that a home insurance can cover either ‘building’ only or it may include the ‘contents’ as well. The two insurance covers may be taken out together or independently of each other and not necessarily from the same providers.  We encourage consumers to ask the insurance company about the insurance cover included in the home insurance policy. 

More information can be accessed on http://www.mfsa.mt/consumers/consumer-awareness-andeducation/insurance/different-types-insurance/home-insurance/

During the year, the Authority organises a number of school visits where students aged between 14 and 16 years visit the Authority and MFSA staff carry out a presentation on the basic concepts of banking, insurance and investments.  Whilst in the past months such visits could not take place due to measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, protecting and safeguarding the interests of consumers remained a key priority to the MFSA. Other initiatives undertaken by the Authority during the year, are the consumer educational campaigns.  Each campaign focuses on a financial product and/or financial service being either banking, insurance or investments related. 

There is also a dedicated Consumer section on the MFSA website, wherein the general public can access educational content. The Consumer section also contains informative material on different financial products, FAQs, Jargon Buster and information on consumers’ rights and duties.  The general public is encouraged to visit the Consumer section on the MFSA website, which can be accessed via https://www.mfsa.mt/consumers/.

Emily Benson is Head, Conduct Supervision at the MFSA

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