I’m really sorry not to be able to be with you physically, but I am currently in Washington at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, but I am with you with my heart. I am Deputy Director at the OECD, the OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but I am specially here with you as the chair of the INFE which is the International Network for Financial Education which comprises about 110 countries from all over the world. So I am very proud to patron this ceremony, and I would first wish to thank our host Mr. De Noose who is the Managing Director of the ESBG and Mr. Guzzetti, president of ACRI and Mr. Cantarella, president of the Foundation Carisal.
And of course I wish to greet all of you and especially to commend this excellent initiative, this European Stock Market Initiative. This learning by doing initiative promoting financial literacy of young people through this exciting (I think this is exciting) competition is perfectly matching what we promote at the OECD and the International Network for Financial Education, and we fully support it obviously. Financial literacy is more and more essential in our economies, and this is especially the case as we have increased complexity of financial products but also increased transfer of risk especially in the credit and pension field. I know that you in your generation, you young people do not care about pension, I understand that, but please do it as soon as you begin working. This is especially important as now the pension system has changed quite a lot, drastically, from the defined benefits scheme to the defined contributions scheme. The defined contributions scheme are transferring investment and longitudinal risk to individuals and households. So you need to be equipped as soon as possible. And I am quite sure, I am convinced that what you have learned from this competition will help you, will provide you the tools to address this pension scheme and to manage your life and your retirement.
All of this work, of course, is built on a lot of analysis from which we published this book related to financial education at school. And this financial education at school can include games, can include exercises and games like this game, the Stock Market Learning Competition, I think it would be a very good candidate to be integrated in the curriculum. And I would like to comment on the teacher, who is essential for this financial education to be successful in the school, of course, and I wish to recognize their role here. This financial education is something that we define in a very broad way at the OECD. It’s not only the knowledge but also the skill, the attitude, the behaviors; and for the young generation this will allow you to gain the core competencies that you need to have to manage your financial life. And that’s why we have developed work related to the core competencies for the young generation, and that’s again an example of the work we are developing. But we are not only developing analysis related to the core competencies and identifying them but also assessing, testing the competencies.
And that is the role of the program we call the PISA program. The PISA program is the Program for International Student Assessment, and that’s a program which is measuring, assessing the proficiency of the young people, 15 years old in mathematics and reading, but also since 2012 we are doing that for financial literacy. And we rank the countries, and this helps them to take the appropriate measure including to correct what is going wrong.
And in this respect, the PISA exercise, we have 5 levels of proficiency, and I must confess that considering your competition, I am quite sure that all of you after this competition would certainly rank in the 5th one. And maybe, maybe we should create a level 6 for you the winning team that I wish to congratulate warmly today. I hope now you understand better why the OECD is definitely supporting this initiative.
This is for us really a fantastic way of learning of course the stock market, but not only that, to understand the fundamentals of the economy, to understand the rationale and the irrational, to understand the return and risk. That’s very important. The awareness of the risk is key, really key. The risk should not stop you, but you need to understand the risk to go further and to be successful. I’m convinced that after this competition you will have a different vision of the risk, different vision of the economy, and a different vision of the stock market of course. But you won’t lose this, you won’t lose what you gained. You gain skills, you gain competencies which will be with you forever, and this will help you in the future providing essential tools for you to manage the financial challenge that you will inevitably, and I’m sorry about that, but inevitably you will have to meet this financial challenge in your future. So be aware of that.
Bravo to you! Bravo to ESBG for this excellent initiative, and my congratulation for all of you and goodbye.