Bank of Valletta hosted a financial education seminar highlighting important aspects of the local economy and investment basics with a view of helping the public make informed decisions when dealing with their financial well-being. The Bank is investing heavily in the financial literacy of the communities it serves. As explained by BOV CEO Kenneth Farrugia, “We feel it is our responsibility to disseminate financial knowledge and help the public to become better informed, so that they can choose financial products that really suit their requirements”. As a Bank of systemic importance, with a legacy of fifty years operating across the islands, the Bank has taken on board the responsibility to support customers in navigating the financial services world, so that they can make the most of the financial options available at different stages of their lives.”

 

Malcolm Bray, who heads the Bank’s Economic function, gave an overview of the local economic landscape. He highlighted several variables like the sectoral diversification achieved over the past decades, the record low unemployment rate, coupled with the expected easing of inflationary pressures, the record year for tourism, and the ongoing growth in residential house prices. “The present favourable economic conditions are also supported by the low pass-through of ECB rates to domestic lending rates. Indeed, household rates and corporate rates are currently the lowest among euro area countries,” he explained. Mr Bray also referred to the life cycle theory of consumption to highlight the critical importance of saving during our working age so that we can maintain existing consumption patterns once we retire when income decreases.

 

Bond and Equity Markets were particular areas of interest in the information session. Attendees were given an overview of bonds, how they work, and the main factors that affect the bond market, such as inflation, interest rates, credit rating, liquidity, and bond maturity. An overview of the local Equity Market, both by sector and industry, was also put forward, with particular emphasis on how shares entail more risk than bonds but entitle the holder to become part of the ownership of a company, with the possibility of earnings coming from dividends or increases in share price. Informative statistics about the local equity market showed a predominance in Malta by finance and real estate.

 

The public’s response to the financial education seminar shows that there is a growing demand in the market for further knowledge in finance, an area that Bank of Valletta is keen to invest in. The personal customer segment is showing particular interest to these sessions, with financial skills and investment basics at taking centre stage. The Bank encouraged anyone interested to participate in similar future evets to approach the Bank’s Business Development Unit by calling 22751122.  Satisfaction with participants’ response to the content was expressed by Kenneth B Micallef, who heads the Bank’s Business Development arm, as well as Clayton Scicluna, one of the Bank’s Lead Portfolio Managers and David Pace Ross, Senior Manager within the Bank’s Stockbroking and Capital Advisory arm who presented the content to participants.

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