The Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics (SKBI) at Singapore Management University (SMU) and Citi Singapore, through the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, organized the 6th Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Symposium at SMU Hall on 19 September 2019.
The event was graced by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs. Some 300 participants attended the symposium, of which about 240 students were from the Institute of Technical Education, Polytechnics and SMU, and the rest from government agencies and partner organisations.
In his Welcome Address, SMU Provost Professor Timothy Clark shared the results of a survey by SKBI researchers on the effectiveness of the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme which was released in July this year. It found that over 60% of respondents improved their financial literacy knowledge and around 29% showed evidence of higher propensity of savings behaviour three to six months after participating in the Programme.
“For the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme, we aim to enhance the effectiveness of our programme by deploying more scalable, accessible and sustainable approaches. The “just-in-time” delivery of the content in an interactive peer-to-peer format with both synchronous and asynchronous game-based environment might be the best way to promote and deploy financial literacy knowledge. This, in its core, is the use of FinTech not only as a product but also as a tool to reach people who were formerly excluded,” said Prof Clark.
Mr Vikram Subrahmanyam, Managing Director, Head of Operations & Technology, Asia Pacific, Citi, said in his Welcome Address that Citi is deeply involved in contributing to the development of FinTech and leveraging on it to benefit the customers it serves, as well as the communities where it does its business. For example, Citi and SMU announced a partnership early this year to offer the Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) programme to SMU’s students.
“The CUPID program was launched in the United States in January 2018 and aims to build a pipeline of new and diverse talent to foster innovation and accelerate financial services solutions within Citi. In Singapore, the CUPID program at SMU will officially commence in January 2020 and be offered to students taking the Financial Technology Project Experience module over a 15-week term as part of the Fintech track in the Bachelor of Science (Information Systems) degree programme. We believe that Citi Ventures’ partnership with SMU will deliver a stronger value proposition for both Citi and SMU, and raise the bar for the Fintech industry in Singapore,” he added.
In her Opening Address, Minister Teo debunked three common myths about the Central Provident Fund (CPF):
- Claim #1: “CPF - can see, cannot touch”.
Fact: Most people start using their CPF quite early, to build up a housing asset and meet big healthcare expenses.
- Claim #2: CPF pays the “lowest returns” in the world among retirement funds.
Fact: Your CPF savings earn a risk-free interest rate that few investment instruments can match.
- Claim #3: CPF rules are changed secretly due to investment losses.
Fact: CPF monies are invested in Special Singapore Government Securities, which are issued and guaranteed by the Government.
Minister Teo pointed out that for many Singaporeans, CPF helps them become homeowners and take care of big healthcare expenses. It also helps Singaporeans to have some cash in retirement. It is a system that has worked well for most people and continues to be improved.
In an evening of several highlights, the first was the presentation of a cheque of S$489,600 by Citi Foundation to SMU for the continuation of the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults in 2020. With this latest gift, Citi has cumulatively contributed more than S$3.3 million to the Programme since the Programme’s inception in 2012.
Caption: A team from Temasek Polytechnic (1st-4th from right) clinched the top prize in the Polytechnic/ITE category of FinLitChallenge 2019.
Caption: Team Iona from SMU (1st-3rd from right) clinched the top prize in the SMU category of FinLitChallenge 2019.
Another highlight of the symposium is the FinLitChallenge 2019 Award Presentation. This is a competition for students from ITE, Polytechnics and SMU which challenges them to spread financial literacy knowledge to their peers through creative and engaging ways.
Caption: The SMU team behind the creation of augmented reality financial literacy mobile game SmooLah with the dignitaries on stage for the launch of the game.
Caption: SMU alumnus and former Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults student trainer Clement Ang and SMU alumna Vera Leng shared the journey behind the creation and development of the financial literacy themed music video “Choose Today”.
The symposium also saw the launch of:
* SmooLah, an Augmented Reality based Financial Literacy Mobile Game - through the game, young adults will learn financial concepts such as saving, budgeting, investing, insurance and FinTech in a fun and interactive way;
* Financial Literacy Student Council, a platform for SMU, Polytechnic and ITE students to brainstorm ideas and innovate in the field of financial literacy education in Singapore. Through the Council, Citi-SMU aims to improve its programme and ensure it stays relevant to the needs of Singaporean young adults;
* Financial Literacy Themed Music Video, which emphasizes the importance of financial literacy to young adults. A Citi-SMU student trainer Clement Ang, with his acapella group The Rolling Tones, led the writing and production of financial literacy themed music video, “Choose Today”, with the aim to encourage young people to put in conscious effort towards making the best financial decisions from young in order to secure their financial future.
Caption: The panel discussants comprised of (L-R): Keith Lin, Director and Digital Lead, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Stewardship Group, Temasek; Joon Seong Lee, Managing Director, Accenture Applied Intelligence, ASEAN Lead; Freddy Lim, Co-founder & Chief Investment Officer, StashAway; John Hogue, Citi FinTech Asia Head, Citi; Aik-Phong Ng, Managing Director, Fave Singapore; Assistant Professor Aurobindo Ghosh, Principal Investigator, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, SMU.
There was also a panel discussion which touched on the topics of FinTech Innovations and Trends, Sustainable Finance and Development, and the Challenges in Adoption and Growth. The panellists were
Assistant Professor Aurobindo Ghosh, Principal Investigator, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, SMU; John Hogue, Citi FinTech Asia Head, Citi; Keith Lin, Director and Digital Lead, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Stewardship Group, Temasek; Joon Seong Lee, Managing Director, Accenture Applied Intelligence, ASEAN Lead; Aik-Phong Ng, Managing Director, Fave Singapore; and Freddy Lim, Co-founder & Chief Investment Officer, StashAway.
The evening ended with a series of breakout sessions on Mobile Wallets and Digital Payments, Artificial Intelligence and Robo-Advisory, and Disruptions in Financial Services.