ASIC forum tackles financial ignorance

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will host a forum of consumer, finance, government and education groups in Sydney today, following a survey commissioned by the ANZ Bank in June which showed 20 per cent of Australians consider themselves inadequately informed on financial matters. And despite the fact that most survey respondents believed they understood financial issues almost 50 per cent said they would invest in schemes claiming to carry “no risk” if high returns were promised.

ASIC believes that Australians are overcommitting themselves and jeopardising their retirement incomes due to financial ignorance. The Consumer Credit Legal Centre said financial institutions often take advantage of this ignorance in the marketing and selling of their products. The Australian Bankers' Association admitted that banks are aware of financial illiteracy amongst retirees, the unemployed and the young. CEO David Bell said the ABA supports the need for financial education amongst “vulnerable groups”.