Investor education: Worldwide discussion and debate

 

Securities commissions across North America have been doing investor education for a long time. Until recently, it was regarded as a nice thing to do, but not a necessary thing to do.

In British Columbia, we have been ramping up our education work at an accelerating rate over the past decade. We see it as an important and integral part of regulation.

Today, with the credit crunch and resulting financial meltdown, investor education, and financial life skills training, have become a hot topic with policy wonks, educators, governments and the media. Now there is chorus of voices from around the world that are calling for more effective programs to help investors protect themselves by asking critical questions of their advisors and learning how to protect themselves from fraud.  As well, there is a call for programs to teach young people financial life skills so that they grow up more equipped to manage their money. 

I have been invited to talk about these issues as a panellist at the joint investor education conference of the International Forum for Investor Education (IFIE) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) next week in Washington DC. I am on two panels—one about target marketing investor education programs (I am going to talk about our school program in BC which we have been marketing for five years) and the other is about moving investor education into the 21st century (I will talk about using social media together with traditional media in one integrated program.) 

If you have any thoughts, ideas or comments on these subjects, I would be delighted to hear them.  I will also be twittering my observations on the conference: @SPBowles