Embark Group chief executive Phil Smith has called for a levy on financial services firms to fund financial education in schools, with a view to impacting long-term improvement in financial wellbeing.
Speaking at BlackRock's Wealth 2025 event, Smith and fellow panelists Anna Lane, chief executive of consumer engagement specialists The Wisdom Council, and Joe Parkin, BlackRock's head of iShares UK retail and wealth sales, agreed that a 'financial health craze' was top of the industry's agenda for 2025.
Smith said: 'We need to stop thinking that the government and the regulator are going to set the rules to make things great for consumers and for participants.
'We get so tied up in governance, risk management, caveating and protecting ourselves that we don't step into the space which actually makes it more engaging and more likely to work for consumers.
'Simplification is going to be key, but what can we do as an industry to invest in education? Forget the FSCS levy, forget reglatory costs and all that garbage, which protects the wrong stuff in my view.'
He added if financial education improved this could get people making the right decisions.
'If there was a levy which was about financial education in schools, and if a fund manager from a bank, platform provider, relative to size, contributed money to a central pot, whether government or industry-led, to educate in schools, then we might get the right change behaviour and make it work. But I don't think that pressure will come from government, it will have to come from the industry.'