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Aviva questions ‘commercial benefit’ of investing in financial education

Aviva has questioned whether investing in financial education delivers sufficient “commercial benefit” to make it worthwhile.

Speaking at the Personal Finance Society annual conference in Birmingham last week, Aviva UK life retail and partnerships director Andy Curran said the provider must balance its social responsibility with its responsibility to its shareholders.

He said: “The weakness of investing in financial education is, we need to get a commercial benefit, and we need to get a commercial benefit reasonably quickly.

“We do take our responsibilities as one of the largest insurers in the UK very seriously. We believe we have a social responsibility and a responsibility to the industry, but equally we have a responsibility to our shareholders.”

Financial education will form part of the national curriculum in September 2014. Key stage 3 will cover the uses of money, budgeting and financial products, while key stage 4 will cover wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and more sophisticated financial products.

In 2010 the charity Personal Finance Education Group had its central Government funding removed and had to make 75 per cent of its staff redundant.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How sad to see this. We used to be an industry focused on long tem business. In that environment we would have been keen to educate the public on finance because it was not only socially responsible but also in the long term interests of the business.

    The short termism of analysts, shareholders and executives needs to be urgently addressed. Failure to do so condemns future generations to lower savings, a problem that is already apparent. With lower savings levels the companies that are in business to serve investors will find fewer assets to scrabble over in the future.

    A failure to tackle the savings problem endangers the long term strength of our economic recovery.

    If our industry is not prepared to tackle these issues then who will?

  2. “In 2010 the charity Personal Finance Education Group had its central Government funding removed and had to make 75 per cent of its staff redundant.” And, by a process of creeping starvation, the same thing’s being done to CAB’s across the country, to be replaced by the MAS, funded by compulsory levies against the IFA community. Those who refuse to pay will be put out of business. So much for freedom of choice, let alone democracy.

    It’s all very well for the MAS to claim that it helps 2000 people a day by formulating personal financial management plans but these are of little or no value unless people actually stick to them long term and on that the MAS appears to have no strategy for checking up a year or two down the line.

  3. Whist I agree that financial education should be a key element of the national curriculum, there also has to be an element of ‘help yourself’ at play here. Car manufacturers do not teach us how to drive. Book publishers do not teach us how to read. There are a whole list of industries that provide solutions for the public but on the assumption that they have got off their backsides and taken an interest to learn how to use what they are providing.

    Surely if providing ‘financial education’ is someone’s job, then it’s the job of the adviser, to work within the communities they operate and ‘educate’ local people to help them secure a better financial future? Why should this be the job of a product provider?

  4. There seems to be an agreement here that financial education is much needed – I think what Mr Curran is saying is that given the cost cutting that is being expected of Aviva and other providers they cannot afford to do it, MAS is doing some but its effectiveness is debatable and I would question why an adviser should be expected to do it surely they are remunerated for advice. As it becomes part of the National Curriculum in 2014 our children will be better prepared but what of those who left school years ago and make up the bulk of our adult population. Until this is addressed I fear misunderstandings will continue which do nothing to help our industry

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