4 Jul 2011

Financial literacy message taken to shareholders

8:00 am on 4 July 2011

The New Zealand Shareholders' Association national conference next month will focus on promoting financial literacy.

Its line-up of speakers include Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard, former regulator Simon Botherway and fund manager Carmel Fisher.

Financial literacy has become very topical recently, including the forthcoming Government summit which will target unscrupulous credit companies.

Association chairman John Hawkins says the speakers at the conference next month will give a big picture view of the markets.

Mr Hawkins says only about 6% of people invest directly in shares compared with 31% in Australia, and this antipathy towards the stockmarket needs to change.

He says as KiwiSaver funds start to grow, overseas experience indicates people take a more active interest in the performance of the companies they're invested in.

Stock market operator NZX has chipped in thousands of dollars and resources to promote the conference, but Mr Hawkins is adamant that will not compromise its independence.

The conference was to be held in Christchurch, but earthquake damage to the venue saw it moved to Tauranga.