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&#39Raising awareness will be an all-round task&#39

Tackling low financial awareness is a long-term task which demands a concerted effort from financial advisers, the Government and other parties, says the FSA.

Its warning follows last week&#39s publication of a report by the National Association of Citizens&#39 Advice Bureaux which highlights the impact of financial literacy on individuals&#39 financial security.

In the wake of the report, the regulator is drawing attention to a number of initiatives which it says address the problem of low financial awareness.

The FSA points to its own financial planning CD-Rom, launched last week, which is designed to help consumers identify their financial goals and priorities. The tool gives guidance on what products to consider and is designed to complement the range of factsheets available from the FSA on key financial planning areas including pensions, mortgages and getting financial advice.

The FSA accepts that there is a considerable challenge in getting financial literacy up to acceptable levels but it argues that initiatives such as its CD-Rom, factsheets and the recently launched comparative tables are starting to address the issue.

Head of consumer education Deborah Arnott says: “The Nacab report confirms how easy it can be for people to get into dire financial straits through a lack of understanding. We have an objective from the Government to improve consumer awareness of financial matters. There is much to do.

“It will take considerable resources and a sustained commitment from all quarters – the Government, trade associations, educational organisations, the money advice sector and firms themselves – to make a real difference.”

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