CONSOB Report about financial literacy and knowledge among Italian population

Consob, the Italian National Commission for Societies and Stock Exchange, every year publishes its report on financial investments of Italian households. With more than 3000 Italian people interviewed, this survey represents the largest national assessment of financial education, periodically published. In December 2019, the last report comes out, underlining, again, worrying results about financial and economic literacy in Italy, in line with previous survey’s results. Indeed, the financial culture of Italian households is still poor, with 21% of interviewed not knowing any of the basic notions of financial literacy (inflation, risk/return relation, diversification, loan’s characteristics, compound interest), nor the more advanced ones. Furthermore, averagely the 34% of the sample shows a mismatch between real financial knowledge and ex-ante perceived one; this phenomenon is translated into an upward mismatch in the 14% of the cases. This last data is particularly relevant and dangerous, because it can lead people to make risk financial choices, without knowing their consequences. Lastly, the sample registers a low level of numeracy, as highlighted by the 54% not able to make simple percentage calculus.

Another chapter of CONSOB report regards the evaluation of financial literacy through the knowledge of some of the most spread financial activities: bank account, bonds, stocks, mutual funds and bitcoins. Authors choose these activities based on past surveys, spread rate and media coverage, so they should be the most common ones. Sadly, more than 30% of the sample ignore all of the proposed products, with only 4% obtaining the highest score.

The report, further, shows heterogeneity among the population, about financial literacy: the knowledge of financial activities is highest among well-to-do, northern-centre regions residents, with higher instruction level.

The overview given by Report on financial investments of Italian households, underline a bad results in terms of financial knowledge and literacy among the sample, stating, once more, that the space for intervention in this field is wide and urgent.