Our engagement with the
The key aim of our Group community investment policy is to balance the needs of the community with strategic business concerns, the issues our customers and agents find important and the aspirations of our employees.
Our community investment programmes deliver benefits to the community as well as benefits to our business through reputational advantage and employee engagement.
- We are committed to investing in our local communities and have invested over £6.5 million in a combination of financial literacy, local development and enterprise initiatives
- We are also focussed on engaging employees through community development and have donated 130,000 employee hours in volunteer initiatives
Our products are financially inclusive and often appeal to consumers who may be underserved by mainstream banking.
Our personal experience with these consumers has shown us that although they may be very skilled at household budgeting they have typically received no formal financial literacy education which limits their ability to engage with the financial sector.
IPF implements financial education initiatives as part of its community investment programme as a complement to financial consumer protection and regulatory reforms, as well as policies aimed at reinforcing financial access and treating our customers fairly.
Framing the issue
Consumers around the world and in particular vulnerable groups have limited knowledge and understanding of financial products and savings. At the Summit in June 2012, the G20 Leaders endorsed the High-level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education developed by the OECD and its International Network on Financial Education (INFE). The report, “Advancing National Strategies for Financial Education”, shows that financial literacy is in general low among consumers. A recent survey in (reference) revealed 8 out of every 10 people questioned feel lost in relation to financial investments. Therefore, consumers face obstacles making long-term informed financial decisions and selecting financial products that match their needs. To answer these concerns and support consumers’ financial empowerment, International personal finance has developed financial education programmes over the past 10 years across markets in which we operate: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Mexico.
We support local social inclusion and education programmes that aim to help disadvantaged people. In particular we focus on programmes that help to nurture talent through education and scholarships.
Community Case study: stARTs programme
Our stARTs community programme is run in partnership with the Values School Association and National Education Ministry in Romania. It offers opportunities for 50 talented teenagers per year, giving scholarships in drawing, singing and painting. The programme was initiated after a 2013 IPSOS MORI study for IPF showed that our customers in Romania want to see us support young people through scholarships and development programmes. We observed a lack of assistance, education infrastructure and career prospects for young artists in Romania and the stARTs programme was born. The initiative supports high school students in Romania financially and by offering them access to education and career counselling. We also offer the students an informal support network through a Facebook network where they can interact with one another as well as dedicated teachers.
A survey of the participants of the 2014 stARTs programme showed that it has helped them to train and to continue to invest in their talent, giving them more confidence as well as helping them to access national and international competitions.
We communicate the programme widely to our customers through television advertising, leaflets and schools partnerships which gives us a great opportunity to engage with them outside of our normal interactions and improves the reputation of the business. The programme has also been supported by a viral marketing campaign generating over one million views on social media.
‘The stARTS scholarship programme has helped me a lot. I used the money to buy materials, watercolours and canvases which helped me to participate in many exhibitions. I also intend to enrol on a fashion design course as I would like to become a fashion designer. I am grateful that I was chosen for this opportunity!’ Bianca Gavrila, drawing scholarship
‘Thanks to you I managed to perform far more this year than I anticipated before I joined the stARTs programme. My life has begun to change in many ways and now I have more prospects for the future. I have discovered my artistic spirit and I will pursue my career with greater confidence in myself as an artist.’ Andreea Vasiliu, drawing scholarship
Employee involvement is an important aspect of how we invest in our communities.
Most of our businesses facilitate and encourage employee volunteering where we look to link volunteering with skill development or use it as a way of bringing our values to life. Volunteering is typically organised at a local level so that each branch can respond to the needs of its local community and activities reflect the interests of employees who have the chance to nominate projects.
In 2015 almost 3500 employees across the Group volunteered over 11,300 hours in company time.
- Our Yes! I help! Programme in Poland mobilised 685 volunteers made up of employees, agents and even customers to deliver local projects including renovation of public and green spaces and work with schools and children’s groups
- Our Provident Romania Supports Education initiative saw our operations teams across Romania renovate local schools and kindergartens with 168 employees and agents taking part to help improve the quality of life for 2.384 beneficiaries, especially children from rural areas of the country.
- Our Hungarian business mobilised over 500 volunteers to support the Guardian Angels programme, donating over 2000 hours to help under privileged social and educational institutions