The Financial Times has launched a new charity endorsed by the former prime minister Gordon Brown, focused on the promotion of financial literacy and inclusion around the world. The FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC) unveiled its strategic plan to boost the financial literacy of young people, women and disadvantaged communities at an event hosted by Roula Khalaf, editor of the Financial Times.
The plan will develop educational programmes to tackle financial literacy, initially in the UK and then around the world. It will seek to warn people about potential financial traps as well as empowering them to realise their aspirations. It will also campaign for policy change and clearer product communication by financial companies.
“Improving financial literacy for people that need it most, will empower and build financial resilience amongst communities that have faced growing inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and austerity,” said Aimée Allam, executive director of FT FLIC. “We have now outlined our ambitious goals to improve financial literacy, and our success will be determined by our ability to achieve these goals in an effective and measurable way.”
According to the research, 90% of the 3,194 people polled across England learnt “nothing at all” or “not very much” about finance at school. The research also found that barely half of 3,000 respondents were able to correctly compare the costs of borrowing via credit cards or bank overdrafts, regardless of their wealth, ethnicity or gender.
Not only will FT FLIC provide financial educational content for individuals and teachers, it also intends to lobby for education policy to change, in particular pushing for financial literacy to be integrated into school curriculums. FT FLIC will also focus on helping close the financial literacy gap for women and communities marginalised from accessing mainstream finance.
FT FLIC will partner with existing charities and other organisations in financial education, and become a hub for the aggregation of the best materials, as well as developing its own content.
Patrick Jenkins, the FT’s deputy editor who chairs FT FLIC, said: “Our aim is to provide a pathway to financial freedom, by improving access to content that is engaging and empowering. The power of financial literacy for young people, as well as others who lack basic financial knowledge, can transform lives and help to avoid costly financial mistakes.”
Speaking at the launch of FT FLIC Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said: “In surgeries, I came face-to-face with constituents who could not manage their finances or pay their bills, who racked up debts and fell into the hands of money lenders. I saw not only the despair that this brings and the impact it has on physical and mental health but the need for far greater financial literacy. Financial worries have been exacerbated by the pandemic and will certainly worsen when six million families in the UK find their universal credit is cut by £20 a week. I welcome this initiative to create an umbrella foundation that will not only work with current providers at the grass roots level, but it will also seek changes to policy.”
The launch of FT FLIC follows 15 years of successful FT seasonal appeals that raised more than £19.5m on behalf of charities and supported many worthwhile causes.
Notes to editors
Study based on 3,194 people aged 16+, conducted by Ipsos Mori (01 June)
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