Friday 29 June 2007

Influencing financial behaviour and the role of generic financial advice

The Resolution Foundation held a seminar on Friday 29 June 2007 to discuss the role of Generic Financial Advice (GFA) in influencing financial behaviour. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss this issue in the context of the Thoresen Review of Generic Financial Advice. The seminar was chaired by Sue Regan, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, and attended by a wide range of stakeholders.

The seminar included three presentations:

  • Miranda Lewis, Associate Director IPPR, drew on learning from wider public policy agendas to frame the discussion
  • Ian Costain, Head of Industry Affairs at AXA, discussed lessons from the commercial environment, AXA’s experience of providing financial education through the workplace and their recent AXA Avenue experiment
  • Claudia Wood, Policy and Research manager at the Resolution Foundation, set out the Foundation’s thinking on the practical application of behavioural economics to the delivery of generic financial advice

The following discussion largely focused on three areas: the case for Government intervention in promoting financial capability, closing the motivation gap and the need for ‘persuasion’, and the need for effective marketing and communications. In summing up the discussion, the speakers stressed that promoting financial capability has great social value and there is therefore a clear case for government intervention. It was felt that there is much to learn from the techniques used by the financial services industry, experience in other policy areas and campaigns that have been successful in changing behaviour, and it was emphasized that it will be critical for the generic financial advice process to empower people.