HSBC, MBB launch Invest+ financial literacy project

From the left: MBB President Simon De Cesare, Invest+ Project Manager Marija Elena Borg, MBB CEO Joe Tanti, HSBC CEO Andrew C Beane. (source: Business Malta)

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As the need for financial literacy is on the rise due to an ageing population and pressures on the pension system, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB), in collaboration with the HSBC Malta Foundation, has launched the so-called Invest+ project that aims to elevate financial literacy levels in Malta by offering mentorship and workshops.

As mortgage debt makes up a big share of the total debt of households in the euro area, understanding the implications of indebtedness, for instance, is one important aspect of financial literacy. Supported by higher levels of financial literacy, individuals are more likely to enhance their decision-making process related to their financial responsibilities.

Therefore, the Invest+ project run by MBB aims to educate people through mentoring sessions and workshops on finance, accounting, savings and investment, aspiring to make participants become financially independent on both personal and professional levels by providing them with a broad understanding of underlying crucial concepts.

HSBC Malta believes that investing in the community is important for running a sustainable business, as well as it is essential for helping people make good life choices in their personal lives, HSBC CEO Andrew C Beane said. The CEO noted that not everybody has access to such information, therefore he believes that initiatives similar to Invest+ are very important. HSBC Malta is making its own experts available for the project who will act as mentors.

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MBB President Simon De Cesare underscored the importance of such initiatives related to policy areas and promoting measures that support education. He said that financial literacy is crucial for many reasons; such as helping people understand what indebtedness means, and it can also help in mitigating social issues such as poverty, inequality, social exclusion and social immobility.

Invest+ is a development of Invest, which was originally launched through an Erasmus+ project and has created an e-learning toolkit that is still available for free for anyone. As the Erasmus+ project ended in 2018, recently-launched Invest+ is aspiring to go further to reach wider audiences; not only targeting businesses but also the general public. Mr De Cesare emphasised that well-informed individuals can make better choices and be agents to promote a wider change.

Through the application process — that is open to everyone — the applicant can enter what they would like to achieve and what they would like to gain through this educational experience, so the organisers can assess the needs of the participants and shape up the educational material accordingly, Invest+ Project Manager Marija Elena Borg said. The project aims to include 140 participants, nevertheless, Ms Borg said that the project can cater for more people.

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The mentoring sessions are broken up into four modules, in the organisation of educational institutions as well as entrepreneurial and social platforms. During the study visits, participants will be able to attend events in Brussels during the 2020 European Money Week. Workshops will be lead by financial mentors organised in social settings in order to create forums of discussion. Concluding the project, the national conference will evaluate the progress and look into how obtained results can be sustained in the future.

Intended outputs of the project — immediate results right after the end of the project — include:

  • participants understanding the difference between financial needs and wants,
  • participants understanding the difference between the concepts of inflation and deflation,
  • participants understanding how to properly read bank statements,
  • participants understanding how to establish a savings plan and achieve financial goals.
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Intended outcomes of the project — mid-terms results right after the end of the project — include:

  • participants become able to reduce their debt levels,
  • participants can increase rates of savings.

As part of INVEST+, the Malta Business Bureau is now receiving applications for its mentoring programme on financial literacy. Interested individuals are required to fill in this application form and send it in an email to MBB.

EDITORIAL NOTE: The present story has been updated with further details related to the intended outputs and outcomes of the project, as well as the timeline infographic has been slightly revised visually. The lead has been rephrased and background to the current financial literacy situation in the area has been added.

The most recent update of the article has seen the addition of further information about the application process.