2016 AMF Index - Financial awareness among Quebeckers growing


Montréal - Quebeckers are gradually adopting healthier financial behaviours. Indeed, the AMF Index of financial awareness among Quebeckers now stands at 61.2%, up from 58.5% in 2012 and 60.1% in 2014. The findings were released yesterday in Montréal as part of the 7th Journée éducation financière [financial education day], which was organized by the Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF).

"We're pleased with the progress achieved with respect to financial awareness among Quebeckers and the fact that consumers are increasingly adopting healthy behaviours with respect to personal finance," said Louis Morisset, AMF President and CEO. "We aim to pursue our awareness activities in order to further improve the areas of vulnerability identified by the survey and will do so in particular with the implementation of the Québec Financial Education Strategy," added Mr. Morisset.

The AMF Index is a survey conducted every two years that highlights the behaviour of Quebeckers in the areas of fraud prevention, retirement planning, investments, personal finance, insurance and relationships with representatives. The latest survey was conducted by the research firm CROP between February 9 and 17, 2016 and it covered 1,500 individuals in charge of managing their household/personal finances.

Growing number of knowledgeable Quebeckers

The AMF Index draws a portrait of three types of consumers of financial products and services: knowledgeable, ambivalent and indifferent.

The proportion of Quebeckers considered "knowledgeable," i.e., those who have a good knowledge of behaviours that should be adopted and who say they put them into practice, has jumped from 50% in 2012 and 55% in 2014 to 58% in 2016.

"Ambivalent" consumers have a good knowledge of behaviours that should be adopted but do not regularly apply them. They still represent approximately one third of respondents (33%).

As for "indifferent" consumers, who have a vague understanding of healthy financial behaviours, they represent 9% of respondents. The proportion stood at 20% in 2012 and 14% in 2014.

Progress but also persistent weaknesses

Since 2012, noteworthy progress has been achieved in a number of the themes covered by the AMF Index, such as retirement planning, investments, credit management and personal finance, and automobile insurance.

However, the 2016 findings indicate that behavioural weaknesses among Quebeckers are virtually unchanged from 2012 and 2014. The 2016 AMF Index highlighted that retirement planning continues to be an issue among many Quebeckers. Despite a jump in the retirement planning subindex, only 43% of Quebeckers have determined whether they are saving enough for retirement.

Nonetheless, compared with 2012 and 2014, more Quebeckers are taking into account matters such as inflation (60%) and longer than average life expectancy (60%) in planning for retirement.

The ability of Quebeckers to establish a clear and transparent relationship with their representative remains a challenge. Only 29% of Quebeckers who do business with a representative have asked questions about compensation and 38% do not feel it is relevant to ask the representative questions about fees that have been charged.

The Index also shows that only 41% of Québec investors check whether their representative is registered with the AMF, even though this is simple to do by consulting the register on the AMF website or contacting the Information Centre.

The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.

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