The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) joined stock exchanges from around the world to Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy, as part of the World Investor Week 2021 global campaign.
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) recently launched its fifth annual World Investor Week campaign following campaigns that previously paved the way for financial organizations across the globe to showcase their initiatives for promoting investor education and protection.
Over 80global financial orgaizations have joined The Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy initiative in 2021, which is an initiative pioneered by the World Federation of Exchanges to bring stakeholders together for a call to action on improving financial literacy. These ceremonies also provide an opportunity for exchanges to promote the work being done within their respective jurisdictions to improve financial education and literacy.
According to key statistics based on a global financial literacy survey done by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Sri Lanka indicated a significant gap between financial literacy and book literacy. According to the survey data, Sri Lanka has achieved 35% financial literacy while book literacy is around 90%. As per the survey, on average, 65% of adults in the major advanced economies are financially literate. This indicates a further unexplored scope to promote financial literacy among Sri Lankans, and thereby contribute to an economically stable population. Fronted by this objective, CSE and SEC cover a broad range of socioeconomic and demographic segments around the country, targeting various aspects of financial literacy throughout the year.
The Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy Ceremony organized at CSE was part of a series of several initiatives organized in Sri Lanka for the World Investor Week campaign by the CSE and the SEC.
Delivering the opening remarks at the ceremony the Chairman of CSE, Mr. Dumith Fernando commented that the initiative is quite timely and comes at a juncture where a paramount importance should be placed on individual financial literacy in elevating the economy of Sri Lanka post pandemic and in the country’s road to financial revival of our citizens. He further stated “As key stakeholders of the Sri Lankan financial space, SEC and CSE believe that we have a greater role to play in financial education and in promoting a more financially savvy population. Our investment and involvement in education in the Sri Lankan financial literacy is fundamental to our commitment to market integrity, inclusive growth, sustainable economic expansion, and fostering an investor-protected capital market.
CSE has over 400 strategized initiatives throughout the year aimed at broadening investor knowledge and educating the public on how to take advantage of the capital market.Financial technology or Fintech is acting as a catalyst in revolutionizing financial markets around the world. Therefore, we have recognized that it is high time to adopt and surpass the traditional approaches of imparting knowledge and skills. ”
The Chairman of the SEC, Mr. VirajDayaratne PC, who spoke at the event noted the extensive effort made by the SEC towards educating the Sri Lankan investment community. He added “When you speak of education and awareness, its two fold. One part of education is to ensure that investors or the general public move away from traditional means of savings to investments. So as far as education is concerned, that is a message that has to be taken to masses. Next aspect is the protection of investors, once they come into the market and get involved with investments, it is our responsibility to ensure that their investments are safe.
Investors need to educate themselves, gather information, and the sources that you gather information is very important, because you have to gather that information/knowledge from the proper sources. If not your investments may not be safe. We have the Latin term “Caveat emptor”, that means Buyer Beware, like any other investment, you go to buy some goods from a store, you do some homework and you find out who has manufactured, is there a warranty, the brand and so on. You need to be mindful of that information when you decide to buy something. As a regulator, we can protect you, we have measures in place to protect you. But you need to look after yourself as well. You can’t make investments that are not safe and rely on the regulator or the stock exchange to look after you. You have to look after yourself. This is something that needs to be taken forward, not only at a time like this but throughout the year.”