When Singapore launched its national financial education programme, MoneySense in 2003, it signaled the understanding of financial management as a key life-skill. This national agenda provided the perfect platform for Citi Singapore, which had embarked on imparting financial literacy among school students just a year earlier. Our financial inclusion efforts are a natural extension of the work we do as a financial institution, and it reflects our global mission of enabling growth and progress to clients and communities where we live and do business.
Citi Singapore has been a steadfast advocate of Financial Inclusion and Youth Empowerment since 2002, having committed more than S$18 million in grants to date (2018) from Citi’s Philanthropic arm, the Citi Foundation. The funding goes towards programmes organized in partnership with established NGOs, government organizations and educational institutions including the Singapore Management University (SMU). These grants have benefited children, youths, young adults, mature women, teachers, social workers, and the public, reaching more than half-a-million students and over 6,000 low-income mature women who are amongst the most financially vulnerable in Singapore.
The Citi-SMU partnership was born out of a tripartite conversation between the policymakers at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and MoneySense, Citi Singapore and Citi Foundation and finally, the Singapore Management University’s Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics. Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults was launched in 2012 to address the growing need for financial literacy among young adults from low to middle- income populations. The programme, which is the first structured financial literacy programme for young adults in Singapore covering the pre-tertiary and tertiary education sector, equips youth (aged 17-30) with essential personal finance knowledge and skills through lectures and workshops to give them a firm foundation in managing their finances. The programme also trains tertiary students as financial literacy coaches to enable multiplier impact amongst young adults through peer-to-peer learning.
Since its launch, over 280 SMU students and 220 students from the Institute of Technical Education and from Polytechnics have been trained as coaches, and at least another 30,000 youths have attended the programme. Post-programme findings (2018) revealed that 60% of beneficiaries have increased their financial literacy knowledge whilst 30% have demonstrated a change of perception after participation.
Citi Singapore is committed to continuing this partnership with Singapore Management University, which contributes to the national conversation on the future of financial awareness and education among the youth. My Citi colleagues and I take this opportunity to thank SMU, their staff, faculty, and students for this meaningful journey of financial wellness for the whole nation, in particular, the current and future stakeholder – the youth of Singapore.
ASEAN Head and Citi Country Officer, Singapore
(Adapted from the Foreword to the 2018 Report)