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FSC Publishes Financial Literacy Survey Results

Tortola, British Virgin Islands - 22 November 2011 - Today, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”) released the results of the Territory’s first Financial Literacy Survey which focused on garnering a more robust understanding of how BVI residents work to manage their money. The survey highlights that while BVI residents have a strong grasp and acute understanding of basic financial products, such as savings accounts, insurance and credit cards, many BVI residents are less comfortable with more complex financial products and concepts, such as investment accounts, stocks, bonds, pension funds and compound interest.

22 November 2011 - Today, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”) released the results of the Territory’s first Financial Literacy Survey which focused on garnering a more robust understanding of how BVI residents work to manage their money. The survey highlights that while BVI residents have a strong grasp and acute understanding of basic financial products, such as savings accounts, insurance and credit cards, many BVI residents are less comfortable with more complex financial products and concepts, such as investment accounts, stocks, bonds, pension funds and compound interest.

22 November 2011 - Today, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”) released the results of the Territory’s first Financial Literacy Survey which focused on garnering a more robust understanding of how BVI residents work to manage their money. The survey highlights that while BVI residents have a strong grasp and acute understanding of basic financial products, such as savings accounts, insurance and credit cards, many BVI residents are less comfortable with more complex financial products and concepts, such as investment accounts, stocks, bonds, pension funds and compound interest.

The FSC’s Managing Director, Mr. Robert Mathavious offers that the results of the survey provided a critical step forward toward identifying specific areas in the population’s financial competence that need to be addressed. Survey results will help guide the Commission’s financial literacy programme, which will strive to empower and equip BVI residents with the skills and information to make sound financial decisions.

The survey, conducted by the FSC in April and May, was developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) International Network on Financial Education to gather baseline data on financial attitudes, behaviours and knowledge. 535 individuals ages 18 and older from across the BVI completed the survey.

The survey highlighted several key areas where BVI residents could be better equipped to make sound financial decisions: budgeting, deciphering and choosing financial products, financial control and stability and, strategic financial planning.

Other key themes that were highlighted in the report include:

Most residents try to live within their means

The report concludes that most BVI residents make concerted efforts to be financially responsible and live within their means, no matter how difficult.

When they are having problems making ends meet, the majority cut their spending or do without before they use credit or borrow.

Household budgeting less common:

While most survey respondents said that they are keeping track of their financial affairs, more than half (51%) do not have a household budget to guide their financial decisions.

Comparison shopping not a key concern:

The survey showed that BVI residents do not appear to do a lot of comparison shopping when choosing their financial products and services and they largely make their decisions based on the advice and information received from people or institutions selling the financial products which could prove to be problematic.

Mathavious suggests that this reliance on financial institutions with a vested interest in selling financial products highlights a clear difference in behavior patterns among BVI financial consumers from that of financial consumers in other countries. In other countries, residents commonly turn first to family and friends for advice in making decisions on financial products.

“The potential ramifications of placing the most reliance on the sellers of financial products for advice raise serious concerns,” says Mathavious. Furthermore, “This can be detrimental if consumers end up in the hands of unscrupulous or predatory sellers. With pyramid, Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent ventures on the rise, consumers need to be informed and alert to avert being scammed.”

Making ends meet and planning a key concern:

The survey showed that 41% of all respondents had problems during the last year trying to make ends meet. Those planning for their financial future and saving for a rainy day also fell short.

Less than half of individuals (48%) have enough money saved that would cover at least six months of living expenses as recommended by financial advisers.

According to the survey, BVI residents who are having problems making ends meet are the same ones that have the smallest security cushions. “Losing their main source of income or having to deal with an emergency would undoubtedly push them even deeper into financial difficulties.”

For the full report of the BVI Financial Literacy Survey, visit the FSC’s website at

www.bvifsc.vg or contact the Financial Literacy Coordinator at 852-4715.

For further information, please contact:

Corporate Communications

BVI Financial Services Commission

Pasea Estate, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tel: (284) 494- 4190

Fax: (284) 494-5016

Email: corpcomm@bvifsc.vg

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Contact Information

British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission


Pasea Estate
P.O. Box 418
Road Town, Tortola, VG 1110
British Virgin Islands

Tel: 284-494-1324 or 284-494-4190 GMT – 4:00
Fax: 284-494-5016
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.
commissioner@bvifsc.vg