Articles Published  30.04.2017

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The ABBL Foundation for Financial Education


Serge de Cillia ©ABBL

  Source: ABBL


Interview with Serge de Cillia, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The Luxembourg Bankers' Association is active in professional training since 1947. In 1990, the ABBL has created an Institute for training in banking, the Institut de Formation Bancaire, Luxembourg (IBFL), incorporated in the House of Training (HoT) since 2015.

In 1992, the ABBL launched the European Banking Academy (EBAL), the precursor of the Luxembourg School of Finance (LSF), today part of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance of the University of Luxembourg.

In 2015, in the context of the European Money Week, the ABBL has initiated the "Woch vun de Suen".

In order to underline its continuous ambition to support financial education and to lay the basis to achieve goals in the related fields, the ABBL has established in September 2016 a foundation for financial education, the Fondation ABBL pour l'éducation financière.

LBQ has met Mr. Serge de Cillia, Chairman of the Fondation ABBL pour l’éducation financière, in order to know more.

Mr. de Cillia, what are the goals of the Fondation ABBL pour l'éducation financière?

The goals of the Foundation are fourfold:

  • Support and promote financial education in Luxembourg and abroad
  • Boost vocational training in the fields of professional finance
  • Sustain academic education via the University of Luxembourg
  • Foster research via the financing of doctorates, post-doctorates and professor chairs

What were the motivations for the creation of the ABBL Foundation?

We have identified a series of short-comings in the various fields of financial education. In academic research and education, professional training as well as financial education of citizens and consumers.

It seemed crucial to the founders and partners of the ABBL Foundation to increase the visibility and consequently the impact of financial education related projects.

In the recent years, the financial centre has faced major transformations. To give you an example with regard to private banking activities, we have now to continuously review our offer in terms of training, education and service quality. The demand of an increasingly international customer base and the requirements linked to transparency challenges the Luxembourg financial centre has accelerated the demand for standards of excellence in the field of education and training. A need for professional certifications was identified and it is the Foundation’s goal, in cooperation with others, to fill this gap.

Who is involved in the ABBL Foundation?

Next to ABBL, represented in the Board of Directors by Yves Maas, Chairman of ABBL and myself, we have invited representatives of the Ministry of higher education, the Luxembourg supervisor Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Fnancier (CSSF), the Heads of ABBL's Private Banking Group (PBGL) and its Digital Banking and FinTech Innovation Cluster (DBFI), as well as the Luxembourg Association for Risk Management (ALRiM), to join the Foundation's Board of Directors.

Also, as it seemed important to us to involve the academic world, the President of the University of Luxembourg has joined the Board of Directors. Indeed, it is essential to bring the academic world and the financial sector closer together to successfully carry out projects related to financial education.

What projects are currently in the Foundation's pipeline?

So far, the Foundation supports three projects.

The first, in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Center on Security Reliability and Trust of the Luxembourg University, is a research project on "Know Your Customer" related to Distributed Ledger Technology which will be supported through financial support and expertise. This project aims to allow financial centre actors to rely on effective methods in order to identify clients.

The second, a four-year research project in cooperation with the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (Alfi) and the Luxembourg School of Finance (LSF) on a Database of Luxembourg Investment Funds will very soon produce concrete deliverables for the financial community.

Finally, the 2017 edition of the Luxembourg "Woch vun de Suen", the national money week program in Luxembourg, has benefited from financial support in order to develop educational tools. In 2017, 1,200 children from more than 72 school classes have participated.

Regarding money week, why do you believe financial education should start at school?

Educating our children in responsible spending and teaching them basic concepts on how to manage money will help them become more independent and responsible. As a result, once adult, they will be able to take better money / financial related decisions and will be better equipped by controlling their budgets, spending, savings and investments.

The sooner children become familiar with the mechanisms and the basic rules, the better they internalise them and develop good habits. This will help them throughout their lifetime because they will be able to take informed and hence responsible decisions.

Why do you believe financial education for citizen is important?

In our day-to-day lives, everyone of us is faced with financial decisions. Most of us learned little, if anything, about financial concepts at school. This has resulted in a lack of confidence in our financial abilities, and thus also in the management and planning of our finances. In addition, financial markets continue to grow more and more complex and as consumers, we are faced with a whole range of options. I strongly believe strengthening and enhancing our financial competencies will undoubtedly make us less vulnerable in a wide range of situations each and every one of us might face in life, such as over indebtedness, divorce, loss of a partner, or saving for retirement.

What is currently being done to boost financial education in Luxembourg?

In order to ensure citizens make better financial decisions, several European countries including Luxembourg have developed strategies and implemented financial education initiatives.

Here in Luxembourg, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) has elaborated a national strategy for financial education. The ABBL was closely involved in the related working group and contributed to the elaboration of this strategy paper. We now expect that actions will be taken soon and projects will take off.

What is on the Foundation's agenda in the near future?

The Foundation is ready to support more projects in the years to come and hopes to reach more pupils, students, adults as well as professionals through other initiatives related to financial education.

The Foundation also intends to collaborate with actors accompanying philanthropic projects and would like to submit some projects through the Fondation de Luxembourg to raise awareness about some initiatives.

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Extract from the ABBL Luxembourg Banking Quaterly 01/2017

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