Montréal - The Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF) announces that it has adopted a new tool, the AMF Index, to measure the knowledge and behaviour of consumers of financial products and services in Québec.

"The AMF Indexis a useful resource for developing and adapting our educational tools and better targeting consumers who could benefit from more knowledgeable behaviours. We're trying to increase the impact of our financial awareness campaigns," said Mario Albert, AMF President and CEO. "The goal is part of our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan," he added.

In the spring of 2012, the AMF launched an initial study on the level of financial awareness among Quebeckers in order to identify indicators for various topics: personal finance; credit management; investments; relationship with a representative; insurance products; level of awareness of financial fraud; and retirement management and planning. For the purpose of the study, financial awareness refers to the recognition of the relevance of a set of knowledgeable behaviours and their adoption by respondents.

2012 AMF Index- Results
The 2012 AMF Index (pdf - 2 MB)This link will open in a new window (available in French only) shows that the 1,500 individuals in charge of managing their household finances who responded to the CROP survey obtained an average score of 58.5%. This means that Quebeckers are aware of and adopt over half of a set of knowledgeable behaviours which the AMF considers essential to efficiently manage personal finances, make informed financial decisions and prevent fraud.

Knowledgeable, ambivalent or indifferent?
The Index also helped draw a portrait of three types of consumers of financial products and services and identify their main traits.

Half of Quebeckers can be considered "knowledgeable," i.e. they have good knowledge of behaviours that should be adopted and say they put this into practice. Knowledgeable consumers score higher in topics relating to investments and insurance. However, they perform relatively less well in terms of their responsibility for doing routine checks and asking questions to their representative. Paradoxically, a proportionately higher number of them are interested in gaining more knowledge. Knowledgeable consumers are typically over age 54, are retired, have a university education, own their own home and earn an annual family income of over $100,000.

"Ambivalent" consumers, who represent 30% of the population, have good knowledge of behaviours that should be adopted but they do not regularly apply them. A proportionately higher number of them find it difficult to manage their finances and see themselves as aggressive investors. They would benefit from adopting behaviours which they in fact consider to be knowledgeable in the areas of personal finance, retirement planning, routine checks and questions for their representative. Ambivalent consumers are typically single, rent their home, are under age 55 and make their own financial decisions, but occasionally consult a representative. Although the representative is the most popular source of information for ambivalent consumers, a proportionately higher number of these consumers mention family and friends as a source of information.

"Indifferent" consumers represent 20% of Quebeckers. They have a vague understanding of knowledgeable behaviours. A higher proportion of them also find personal finance difficult and have no interest in learning more. Indifferent consumers are typically in the 18-24 or 75 or older age group, generally earn a modest income and have a low level of education.

Better results for consumers who consult a representative
The survey also showed that Quebeckers who have a relationship with a representative scored an average AMF Index of 61.6% compared with 49.7% for those who fail to do so. Representatives therefore seem to play a positive role in the adoption of knowledgeable behaviours.

Survey
Data were collected between April 18 and May 11, 2012 from a sample generated using several Web databases of outside providers to help ensure the validity of the sample province-wide, according to the requirements and criteria of CROP and the AMF.

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

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Other data

 

Compared with the global index, Quebeckers obtain a higher score in:

  • Home insurance (74.6%)
  • Automobile insurance (70.6%)
  • Life insurance (69.5%)
  • Investments (65.5%)
  • Fraud prevention (64%)

On the other hand, Quebeckers show lower financial awareness about the following:

  • Relationship with a representative (42.3%)
  • Personal finance (45.2%)
  • Retirement planning (48.7%)
  • Interest and indebtedness (56.1%)

The following scored a higher index:

  • Households with an annual income of $100,000 or more (65.9%)
  • Retirees (64.8%)
  • Individuals age 55 or over (64.5%)
  • Individuals who hold investment products (63.3%)
  • Homeowners (62.9%)
  • Individuals who have a relationship with a representative (61.6%)

The following scored a lower index:

  • Individuals who don't have a relationship with a representative (49.7%)
  • Individuals who rent their home (52%)
  • 18-34 year-olds (52.6%)
  • Households with an annual income of $40,000 or less (54.4%)