Hong Kong ranks top in global study on financial literacy
26 June 2020
The Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC) revealed that Hong Kong came out top in the OECD International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE) financial literacy global study conducted across 26 countries and economies1.
The OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy revealed that on a scale of 1 to 21, Hong Kong’s financial literacy score was 14.8, followed by Slovenia (14.7) and Austria (14.4).
A total of 125,787 adults aged 18 to 79 from 26 countries and economies were interviewed in the study coordinated by the OECD/INFE. Fieldwork in Hong Kong, led by the IFEC, was conducted in November 2019 and 1,002 Hong Kong adults were surveyed.
The study measures overall levels of financial literacy, indicated by combining scores on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Hong Kong achieved top position in the area of financial knowledge and ranked sixth in behaviour, and 14th in attitude2.
Ms Flore-Anne Messy, Executive Secretary of INFE; Head of the Insurance, Private Pensions, and Financial Markets Division, OECD said, “The highest score achieved by any economy in the OECD/INFE 2020 International Financial Literacy Survey was 14.8 by Hong Kong, China. However, it was only 71% of the maximum of 21, which itself represents a basic level of understanding of financial concepts and their prudent application. There is still work to be done.”
IFEC General Manager Ms Dora Li said, “We are encouraged to see that Hong Kong, as one of the world’s leading international financial centre, ranks top in this financial literacy global study. We will continue our effort to further enhance the financial literacy level for the people of Hong Kong, in particular on how financial knowledge can be applied and actioned to improve their overall financial well-being.”
“Considering the multiple challenges that we are facing, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, rising unemployment rate, not to mention the fast ageing population, IFEC will need to continue accelerating our financial education efforts.”
“As a public organisation dedicated to improving financial literacy in Hong Kong, the IFEC provides a wide spectrum of resources with various initiatives to assist people from all walks of life to make informed financial decisions. We would like to call upon the support of industry stakeholders and partners to join us in this meaningful cause to uplift financial literacy and improve financial wellness in Hong Kong,” said Ms Li.
Full report of the OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy is available here.
1Participating countries and economies in alphabetical order are: Austria; Bulgaria; Colombia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; France; Georgia; Germany; Hong Kong, China; Hungary; Indonesia; Italy; Korea; Malaysia; Malta; Moldova; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; Slovenia; and Thailand. France has gathered data only for financial knowledge in this round of data collection and is therefore not included in the overall ranking. Malta and Thailand do not have comparable behaviour scores and are excluded as well.
2A similar cross-country comparison study, the OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies, was conducted in 2015, Hong Kong ranked fifth in overall levels of financial literacy among 30 economies; and in terms of respective component scores, Hong Kong topped in financial knowledge, and was ranked eighth and 29th in behaviour and attitude respectively. The list of participating economies in the two studies is different and hence the rankings are not comparable.