The purpose of the financial sector is to serve the community
An introduction to the FinFuture White PaperView
A high level overview of the propositions found in the FinFuture White PaperView
A roadmap for delivering the FinFuture propositionsView
Research & Teaching Agenda
The Research & Teaching initiatives that will be required to deliver FinFutureView
As part of the FinFuture White Paper project consumer research was commissioned to establish a better understanding of the challenges and concerns Australian's had with the current state of financial services. The research included focus groups and a consumer survey. Some highlights of the report are shown below, with the full report available for download.
- Almost 1 in 3 Australians are dissatisfied with their financial situation. The most commonly cited barrier to improving their financial situation was a lack of trust in financial institutions and advisors.
- This trust deficit is unsurprising given that the majority of Australians (54%) have had an issue with financial service providers in the last five years. The estimated cost of these issues (in the last 5 years alone) to Australian households is $201 billion.
- Aside from this lack of trust, key barriers include being overwhelmed by finances and not having the necessary skills.
- Most Australians (77%) have regrets with regards to their finances, with the top three of these regrets being related to behaviours (e.g. not saving, investing or budgeting), while the fourth most common regret was ‘not learning more about finances and money’.
- The study found, in line with other research, that unexpected life events often negatively impact finances and that most Australians are not prepared to weather such shocks. Indeed, 1 in 5 Australians have less than $1,000 in savings and 1 in 2 have less than $10,000.
In March 2019, academics at the University of Melbourne commissioned the independent research agency Forethought Research to help understand how Australians feel about their finances. The study that was designed as a result comprised two phases, as outlined below. This design was informed by an extensive list of existing consumer research regarding the personal finances of Australians.
Phase One: Qualitative Research
- Explore consumer experiences and the language used in relation to financial wellbeing to inform questionnaire development.
- Specifically, examine the obstacles and challenges to improving financial wellbeing and any financial regrets consumers may have.
- 2 x 90-minute focus groups held in Melbourne on the 9th and 10th of April 2019. A total of 15 people participated in the two focus groups.
- Due to the potential sensitivity of the topics discussed, the groups were recruited so that people of similarly low income and experience with financial stress formed one group and those in a more middle class, less financially stressed situation formed the second group.
Phase Two: Quantitative Research
- Identify the most prevalent financial pain points and issues as well as the burden of these issues (prevalence and severity)
- Understand obstacles/challenges to improving financial health and well-being
- Understand regrets consumers have regarding finances
- Identify and understand differences by key sub-groups, such as age, income, wealth and gender.
- 12-minute survey in field from Monday 29th April to Friday 3rd May 2019. Sample size: 1,029.
- To ensure national representativeness, Forethought and their fieldhouse monitored the sample throughout fieldwork to ensure that comparable allocations for ABS distributions of age, gender and location were captured. No weightings were required to achieve these allocations
The FinFuture Project
At The University of Melbourne, an interdisciplinary team of academics has been developing an alternative way forward based on the premise that the core objective of the sector as it relates to personal finance should be the improvement of individual financial wellbeing.
In our white paper, we propose a preliminary road map with a number of propositions and key steps that are necessary to get the sector to best fulfil its purpose, given the challenges it faces and the environment in which it operates. This vision was formed over the course of eighteen months. It was inspired by academic research in finance, economics, service science, decision science, law and regulation, and technology. It is outcome-focused and institution-agnostic; that is, agnostic with regards to the particular institutions that will deliver those outcomes. It was developed with a ten-year horizon in mind.
The FinFuture Team
The FinFuture team is made up of a cross-disciplinary group of academics from The Faculty of Business and Economics, Melbourne Law School, and the Melbourne School of Engineering, assisted by a researcher in The School of Social and Political Sciences (Anthropology).
Contact the Team
You can email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org