NEWSLETTER: Education, education, education

“Today,
enough of talking – it is time now to do,” said Tony Blair upon
entering Downing Street in 1997 as the first Labour prime minister in
the UK for 18 years. It all seems rather far away and we may
argue until the cows (or indeed the Tories) come home about the Blair
legacy. No matter, the sentiment expressed is surely valid, and within
our own industry it could be applied most usefully to one of Mr Blair’s
favourite hobby horses: education.

The talk about the need for more and better financial education in schools is ceaseless. The doing, however, is rare indeed.

A recent exception is the German arm of JP Morgan Asset Management, which today announced the names of 20 schools in Germany where it will present interactive talks to pupils on the topic ‘Aktien, Anleihen & Co’ (Equities, Bonds & Co). The schools were chosen from 71 schools put forward by JP Morgan AM’s distribution partners in Germany as part of a programme to celebrate the company’s twentieth year in the German market.

“We were overwhelmed by how positively our distribution partners responded to the initiative and that working with them more than 70 schools were interested in the finance talk offer,” said Peter Schwicht, head of JP Morgan AM in Germany.

The talks are designed to inform pupils about the principal themes in the financial markets, including money management and investment funds. However, JP Morgan AM is adamant that the talks will eschew any company marketing, saying that the topics will be presented in a neutral and independent way.

“The aim of our finance talk initiative is to awaken young people’s interest in the important topics of investment and financial provision for the future,” said Schwicht. “Although the importance of economics and finance in a globalised world is increasing, these topics often play a subordinate role in education.”

Indeed. Now imagine if every company were to follow JP Morgan AM’s lead. In Germany, there are some 50 investment management companies registered with the national association, the BVI (not including real estate fund management companies or firms such as JP Morgan AM itself which is not a BVI member). Already, we would have 1,000 schools covered. Schwer okay, as they say in Germany.

Fiona Rintoul, Editorial Director
©2009 Funds Europe