The Hellenic Financial Literacy Institute (HFLI), which was founded in 2016 by Nikolaos Philippas, a Professor of Finance at the University of Piraeus, constitutes the first civil non-profit organization in Greece that aims to spread financial knowledge and combat financial illiteracy. The Institute’s long-term goal is to create a new generation of citizens that are well informed and financially responsible; to work towards a society where citizens will possess the financial knowledge and necessary skills to better understand the workings of the financial sector and the bigger picture of the economy, the usefulness of financial products and the associated risks, and the function of the markets, so that they can make prudent decisions for the effective management of their money at every stage of their lives.
Despite its brief existence, HFLI has undertaken a wide variety of initiatives to highlight the importance of financial education in citizens’ lives through several special briefing events, seminars, continuous scientific research, by creating high-quality contemporary educational material and by establishing strong international collaborations (for example with the EIB, the University of Glasgow, the Bank of Greece, Interamerican part of Achmea, Ernst & Young, the European Commission, and the Athens Stock Exchange
More specifically, during its existence, the Chairman of the Institute has visited over fifteen schools and five universities throughout the country and has given lectures to more than two thousand pupils and over one and a half thousand students respectively on the importance of financial literacy. In more detail, during these visits he covered a large variety of topics, spanning subjects from the significance of saving to fintech and cryptocurrencies. Also, HFLI has performed an extensive study with the financial support of Interamerican on Retirement Income Literacy. Another important assignment of the Institute was the project of the EIB program for the Mapping of Financial Education in Greece (2018). In addition, HFLI has done presentations in four international conferences (New York, Glasgow, Cyprus, Abu Dhabi). At the same time, it offers continuous knowledge, skills and guidance through the HFLI Website, which includes specialized content, such as articles from a large number of highly respected professors and experts in their field. One of the members of the Scientific Board of the Institute and Professor of Finance at Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow, Georgios Panos, is one of the most accomplished professors in the fields of financial literacy and fintech.
In June 2019 the book ‘’Money doesn’t grow on Trees’’ was launched, which is the latest work of Professor N. Philippas as part of the Institute’s ongoing mission to raise awareness of the significance of financial literacy amongst the younger generation and is the first book of financial empowerment and education for children, not only in Greece, but in the whole of Europe. The presentation of the book took place at the headquarters of the Bank of Greece, with the main speaker being the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Professor Giannis Stournaras. Previously, a series of financial literacy books for children were published in 2015 and 2017, titled ‘’Saving for our Future’’ and ‘’Planning for our Future’’ as part of a book series highlighting the significance of financial literacy amongst children and the youth in Greece. All three books are presently undergoing translation into English.
Furthermore, HFLI organized the 1 st , 2 nd and 3 rd Financial Literacy Conference in Greece in April (e.g. the Month of Financial Literacy) in three consecutive years, i.e. 2017, 2018 and 2019, at the Athens Stock Exchange. In 2018, a distinguished keynote speaker for the Conference was Dr. Adele Atkinson, an impactful senior policy analyst from the OECD Financial Education and Consumer Protection Unit.
In addition, Dr. Vasiliki Tzora, Scientific Associate at HFLI, presented the preliminary findings of her PhD thesis supervised by Professor Nikolaos Philippas at the OECD’s High-Level Conference on Financial Education In Schools and for Youth, which took place in Armenia on 11-12 th July, 2018. Following the methodology of PISA, the evidence presented was based on a novel survey of more than 3,000 15-year-old pupils from all over Greece. At present, this is the biggest survey that has been conducted in Greece for measuring the levels of financial literacy. We must also note that the findings of the Institute’s research work have been published in scientific journals with the affiliation of the Institute, and specifically, in Applied Economics (2018), the European Journal of Finance (2019) and the Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money (2020). The chairman of the Institute has also published numerous articles in the Greek press (Vima, Kathimerini, Euro2day, Proto Thema, CNN, ethnos , Insider etc.), has given interviews on the TV (Skai TV, Mega TV) and the radio (National Radio Station). More recently, Professor Philippas has launched a set of innovative E-learning programs, the first of which is titled ‘’Personal Finance’’.
Some of the most noteworthy work of the Institute includes the development of actions for vulnerable social groups, such as children, women, pensioners and immigrants. With all these initiatives, the institute aims to significantly contribute towards the creation of a long-term national strategy to alleviate financial illiteracy in Greece, through a multitude of actions, such as providing financial educational material for elementary schools and financial empowerment material for children nationwide, in order to spread financial education and knowledge. Its initiatives aim to include individuals from all social groups and classes but mainly target children and adolescents. Ultimately, citizens will improve the level of financial well-being for themselves and their family, which is a necessary prerequisite for the continuous well-being of a society.
The accomplishment of this goal is especially important for the Greek people, who have undergone many challenges during the past twelve years of the economic and social crisis, the consequences of which are likely to impact the future, in terms of indebtedness, non-performing loans, high unemployment, the stagnation of GDP and the financial stress that has permeated the Greek society.