The Association for Savings and Investment SA (Asisa) has launched a consumer education website that “encourages readers to use their newly gained knowledge to have a meaningful discussion with their financial advisers before buying products”.
Asisa chief executive Leon Campher said in a statement that SmartAboutMoney.co.za was created to provide consumers with accurate, unbiased, plain-language information about regulated financial products and services.
“SmartAboutMoney explains the products and services offered by the savings and investment industry, but it does not provide advice or guidance. Instead, it actively encourages readers to use their newly gained knowledge to have a meaningful discussion with their financial advisers before buying products,” he said.
Campher said although SmartAboutMoney.co.za is collectively funded by members of Asisa, consumers will not be enticed to buy financial products via SmartAboutMoney.co.za, nor will they come across advertising.
He said the website was designed to be brand agnostic so that it can ultimately bring together all stakeholders in the financial sector.
“We would like to see other financial sector industry bodies join us in this journey in order to provide consumers with a holistic educational resource that covers all aspects of their personal financial journey.”
Asisa said the website’s “comprehensive” educational material has been developed by Laura du Preez, one of South Africa’s most experienced personal finance journalists.
“The content has been checked for accuracy by Asisa’s senior policy advisers (subject matter experts in their own right), Asisa member representatives and many other experts where relevant. All educational content also carries the approval of the Asisa editorial committee,” it said.
In addition to the educational content, the website has some interactive features, including videos on “Why unit trusts are a good investment”, “Understanding the underwriting process” and “Your pension options at retirement”.
It also has a number of calculators, such as the living annuity drawdown calculator developed with assistance from actuary Paul Zondagh at True South and the budget planner, which leaves users with a downloadable spreadsheet for future planning purposes.
Asisa said it welcomes feedback on Smartaboutmoney.co.za. It will be interesting to see (1) whether large numbers of consumers use the site, and (2) whether the content has been pitched at the right level to facilitate “meaningful discussions” with financial advisers.