WMA reaction to the general election results – “encouraging a cultural shift towards savings and investment and financial education are key"

8 May 2015

Following today’s general election results the Wealth Management Association (WMA) has urged the new Conservative-led Government to encourage a cultural shift towards savings and investment, so that retail investment in shares and other financial assets become as normal as purchasing property.

WMA as a trade association represents 186 Wealth Management firms and associate members who manage in excess of £670 billion of wealth in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man also called on the new government to put education about the financial services at the forefront of its plans.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of the WMA, said:

“Educating people about financial services is a vital step the new government must take and it is something that should become a fundamental element in the learning process in the UK.

“There should be greater guidance, advice and education about financial services and products in the UK. The benefits of investing in businesses also need to be highlighted in relation to the growth of the UK.

“This education needs to be aimed at both children and adults, so that there is a cultural shift towards financial education becoming fundamental in personal education and towards investment becoming the “norm” as opposed to an abstract concept. We believe that retail investment in shares and other financial assets could become as “normal” as purchasing a property, which would stimulate growth for the UK economy.

“The apparent mystery surrounding investment and financial services, including the regulation of the industry, needs to be removed through increased education, which will involve a collaborative effort between the government, schools, consumer bodies and other relevant organisations.”

She also called on government policy to encourage to long-term investment, adding: “If taxpayers and government want stronger, more accountable banks and organisations, one of the best ways to achieve it is to ensure the widest possible range of shareholders. Wider share ownership is an important vehicle for improving the wealth of millions of ordinary retail investors across the UK; individual shareholders are investors, not speculators, who look to the long-term and take an active interest in the performance of the companies they own. 

“Mobilising the millions of UK private investors also helps to spur and maintain the UK’s economic growth. This aim can be achieved in a number of steps, including ensuring that retail investors are not excluded from participating in IPOs, abolishing stamp duty and SDRT on all shares, and increasing the over 50 ISA limit.”

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