Briefing by Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak
Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak answered reporters' questions and spoke about the issues discussed at the conference "Empowering Consumers of Financial Products and Services through Improved Financial Literacy and Effective Consumer Protection Systems."
First, they spoke about financial literacy. In the opinion of Sergei Storchak, the 2008 crisis and the situation in the United States made the world pay close attention on necessity of using such practices.
Speaking about promoting financial literacy in Russia, the Deputy Finance Minister quoted Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Country Director for Russia: "Russia launched an initiative for financial education in 2006, which was before the global economic crisis triggered by consumer lending practices. We felt those risks and tried to forestall them, but that measures couldn't act fast in large economies. The National Strategy for Financial Education, the Russian Trust Fund for Building National Capacity to Protect Consumers of Financial Services and Financial Education in Individual Jurisdictions - all these directions are gaining momentum now."
Speaking about the Russian approach to the implementation of the program to improve financial literacy, Sergei Storchak said that the government seeks to combine general and specific issues. General issues include the global project carried out by the trust fund for financial education, knowledge and information transfer technology, as well as administrative support for the OECD project. The specific approach concerns launching a national project for financial education in Russia. According to Mr. Storchak, two pilot projects in the Kaliningrad and Volgograd regions are already underway. "We hope that we will gain some experience in the interaction between the federal center and the local authorities in terms of co-financing the costs. We realize that all issues related to promoting such knowledge at schools, universities and workplaces, and subsequently among older people, will be addressed locally, and they cannot be observed by central authorities. Thus, we will need to use co-financing arrangements, have the centre and the regions cooperation , and then translate these experiences to other Russian regions," the Deputy Finance Minister said, adding that the regions are also sending the applications for extending this program.
Notably, this work has a place of its own in the Central Bank's policy. The Federal Service for Financial Markets is going through the same process where they have their own projects and deal with enhancing professionalism in using existing opportunities. In this sense, all three processes are complementary to each other, but not compete.
Finding sources of financing for economic growth was also discussed. Sergei Storchak said that this is one of the priority for Russia's G20 presidency issue. Concrete proposals will be discussed during the next finance ministers and central bank governors meeting to be held in Moscow on July 18-19. Certain measures will be developed by the G20 Leaders' Summit in St.Petersburg.