Sixteen heavy-hitting City firms have launched a campaign to give thousands of primary school children a better foundation in financial education.
The campaign, called KickStart Money and co-ordinated by the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA), aims to invest £1m to provide financial education to 18,000 youngsters.
The initiative also represents a "serious statement of intent" by the financial services sector to call for money lessons to be a compulsory part of the primary school syllabus.
Rupert Pybus, global head of brand and marketing at Columbia Threadneedle, said: “Significant proportions of the UK population lack the basic functional skills and knowledge to effectively manage their money.
"KickStart Money has been developed as a mechanism for the industry/TISA members to pro-actively and collectively transform the long-term savings behaviour of a generation.”
Recent findings by the Money Advice Service (MAS), an independent organisation set up by the government, indicated 40 per cent of 7-17-year-olds received financial education in school. And only seven per cent of them have spoken to their teachers about managing money.
“Learning about the basics of money is essential if we want to build a more financially literate nation," said former work and pensions minister Lord Hutton.
KickStart Money is an exciting and much needed new project aiming to help young students to understand the consequences of debt as well as the importance of saving and investing for their future.
Meanwhile, Suella Fernandes the chair of the all-parties parliament group inquiry into the effectiveness of financial education in UK schools, added: "Young people are growing up with far greater opportunities to spend money and a wider range of financial decisions to make."
Financial education has the potential to transform people’s life chances by equipping them with the vital skills to manage their money well and plays an important role in helping young people to navigate these new financial and consumer landscapes.
She continued: "Kickstart Money is a great new project which will help children up and down the country to learn how to manage their personal finances, setting them up to deal with the financial challenges of later life.”
Firms backing the campaign are: Aberdeen Asset Management, Alliance Trust Savings, Allianz Global Investors, Aviva, Axa Investment Management, BlackRock, BMO Global Asset Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Henderson Global Investors, Legg Mason Global Asset Management, LGIM, Old Mutual Wealth, Prudential UK & Europe, Redington, Schroders and Standard Life.