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Financial literacy among undergraduates – research findings of concern

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Sri Lanka has shown a high literacy rate of about 92% compared to other south Asian countries, and is on par with other developed countries. However, there is a noted dearth of surveys and studies that assesses the financial literacy level in the Sri Lankan context. It is observed that people with low levels of financial literacy suffer from that lack of knowledge at every stage of their lives and studies also assert that people with a high degree of financial literacy are more likely to plan for retirement, and that people who plan for retirement have more than doubled the wealth of people who don’t. On the other hand, the quite alarming fact noted is that even some educated professionals had fallen prey to financial scams in Sri Lanka, questioning the financial literacy of such intellectuals.

Thus, a study was carried out involving the undergraduates in the Sri Lankan state universities (due to being one of the major sources of future leaders) to find the level of financial literacy and how different specializations impact financial literacy levels. In the research conducted by the authors, the undergraduates were tested on their fundamental financial knowledge on dimensions of general finance, saving & borrowings (i.e., banking products), insurance and investment, and nearly 653 students from the five main state universities in ten main disciplines (business and non-business disciplines) were selected, where the data was collected over a period of 1 1/2 years. Undergraduates of the business discipline included undergraduates from accountancy and business management and non-business discipline included undergraduates from the fields of engineering, physical sciences, humanities and social sciences and information technology.

The findings indicate that the overall financial literacy level was on average 69.58% out of 100% of undergraduates in the business discipline. In terms of the sub-dimensions of financial literacy, these undergraduates scored the highest of 74.51% in the savings and borrowing sub-category, while they scored the lowest of 59.08% in the investment sub-dimension. When compared with the general literacy rate of 92% of this country, the findings of this study indicate that their overall average is quite low as well as knowledge in the investment sub-dimension is even lower.

The alarming finding is related to the undergraduates coming from the non-business majors, where the average financial literacy level was only 42.83% out of 100%, which is even lower than 50%. This we see as a major concern. Their knowledge in the investment related sub-dimension was just 28.16% out of 100%.

When considering these findings of the research conducted by the authors, it is clear that the undergraduates coming from the business management discipline had a better knowledge than students from non-business management disciplines. Although the students coming from the non-business disciplines may be conversant in their own areas of study, they were lacking an awareness in fundamental financial aspects that any citizen should possess to continue normal day-to-day life.

The authors observe that there is a systematic deficiency of personal finance education in our local education system. Introduction of subjects related to financial literacy for all students (regardless their discipline) in their formative stages as well as introducing course components related to accounting and finance in the curricula of non-business majors at universities (and other tertiary institutions) could be suggested to remedy this dire situation.

Authors– S.S. Edirisinghe (surathse1978@gmail.com) and S.S. Samarakkody,

Senior Lecturer,

Department of Accounting, Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education, Sri Lanka,

Senior Prof. DBPH Dissa Bandara and Dr. AR Ajward,. Senior Lecturer

Department of Accounting, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

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Union Assurance empowers its policyholders by introducing free COVID-19 life coverage

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Union Assurance PLC being one of the largest insurance solution providers in Sri Lanka has further established their commitment towards the nation by staying true to its promise, ‘Your Life, Our Strength’. In turbulent times such as COVID-19, the company has taken initiative to persevere and adapt by responding to customers’ needs irrespective of the unanticipated circumstances presented.

The free COVID-19 cover has been reinstated to support both existing and new policyholders to ensure additional protection during these uncertain times. The cover provides a free death cover up to a maximum of LKR 1 million per policyholder. This free cover is valid for a period of one month commencing from 02nd November 2020 to 01st December 2020.
Union Assurance was also recognized as one of the first life insurance companies to offer hospital cash benefits for quarantine treatments since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The company therefore assures all its valued policyholders this initiative would be continued in which hospitalization per day claims directly resulting from COVID-19 will be considered from 20th October to 31st December 2020.

Amidst grave adversity Union Assurance strives to provide its unwavering commitment in offering the best in class protection coverages to its policyholders while ensuring that their families are financially empowered to face any challenge and uncertainty.

Jude Gomes, Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health, economic and social crisis and has affected people from all walks of life. We offer this timely protection cover free of charge to provide our policyholders the added peace of mind that the future of their families will be secured during these uncertain times. The specialty of this cover is that it is not just limited to our existing policyholders but is also offered to new customers and thereby giving Sri Lankans access to secure the future of their families.”

To obtain more information about this free COIVD 19 cover, call the Union Assurance 24-hour hotline on 1330, email: info@unionassurance.com; or chat with the company on www.unionassurance.com
Union Assurance is the oldest private life insurer in Sri Lanka, and is a member of the John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate. Union Assurance completes over three decades of success in the industry with a market capitalization of Rs. 18 Bn, a Life Fund of Rs. 38 Bn and a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 434% as at August 2020. Set to empower the Sri Lankan Dream, Union Assurance offers Life Insurance solutions that cover education, health, protection, retirement, and investment needs of Sri Lankans. With 76 branches and an over 3000-strong workforce, Union Assurance continues to invest in people, products, and processes to remain agile and responsive to emerging changes in the Life Insurance industry.

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Seylan Bank partners with Mastercard to facilitate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services

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Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, recently partnered with Mastercard to integrate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) – a technology platform to enable easy and secure acceptance of a wide range of digital payment methods for Seylan customers.

As the need for digitization of banking products and services grows globally, banks are continuing to evolve their Internet Payment Gateways (IPG) to introduce new technologies offering heightened customer convenience and security of digital transactions. By partnering with Mastercard and facilitating the MPGS platform, Seylan customers, merchants, and industry partners will benefit from a range of features, delivering an enhanced user experience.

Commenting on this, Chaminda Senewiratne – Head of Digital Banking Channels at Seylan Bank said “The MasterCard Payment Gateway Service will transform digital transactions, further eliminating the need for cash payments. We at Seylan Bank, are proud to partner with Mastercard, one of the world’s leading payment platforms to offer our customers the MPGS service. Our customers can now experience an elevated, secure, reliable, and fast digital payment process, making the payment gateway a desirable channel giving merchants a chance to take their businesses global and accept payments from customers through the gateway.

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AIA Wealth Planner Krishan Dassanayaka internationally honoured

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AIA Insurance’s Wealth Planner, Krishan Wasantha Dassanayaka, has been honoured by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) with an invitation to serve on the Membership Communications Committee (MCC) as Country Chair for Sri Lanka, AIA said in a news release.

The MCC is a network of more than 400 members worldwide who are responsible for promoting MDRT and communicating information to current and aspiring members, companies, and other industry organizations and reporting the needs and concerns of members to the MDRT Executive Committee and MDRT headquarters in the USA.

It is a global and independent association that is internationally recognised as the standard of excellence in life insurance and financial services. MDRT has an overall membership of 72,000 from over 500 companies in 70 countries. Its members are required to generate a certain level of premium, commission and income, and demonstrate professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.

AIA said Dassanayake’s was an outstanding achievement both personally and professionally and one which has brought great pride to person and organization.

“With this prestigious new appointment, Krishan will work with the global MDRT team for innovative ideation, groundbreaking implementation and achieving high-quality results,” the release said.

Having joined AIA Insurance as a Wealth Planner in 2003, he has always been a top performer and source of pride to the organisation and had won a host of national awards including the Golden Eagle (2009) and Silver Eagle several times as well as being recognized by AIA as a ‘Premier Wealth Planner’ for six straight years and as a ‘Supreme Wealth Planner’ for four years running.

 

 

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