As part of the project, Karen is an active member of the national ‘End High Cost Credit Alliance’, led by the actor Michael Sheen and launched in March 2018. The alliance will continue to influence public debate and lobby for changes in regulation and policy, financial education, workforce training and fairer alternatives to high cost credit.
Karen’s work on the project was also central to her appointment as the specialist advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion 2016-17 which reported in March 2017.
The project’s annual Financial Inclusion Reports were widely reported on in national and regional print and online media. The 2016 report, for example, was covered by The Independent, The Sunday Express, The Sun and the i newspaper. It featured in 300 local newspapers, on BBC West Midlands Radio, Coventry and Warwickshire Radio, Yahoo News and AOL news. The research has also reached national television and radio audiences. The 2016 report was featured as an item on Sky News TV. Karen appeared on ITV’s Tonight programme in March 2017, and on BBC 4’s You and Yours in February 2018.
CHASM International Fellow Scheme
Professor Karen Rowlingson secured funding for Dr Irni Johan to visit the University of Birmingham as a CHASM International Fellow. Irni completed her doctoral degree at the University in early 2018. Her thesis explored ‘The financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of university students in Indonesia’. Irni’s main research interests include personal finance, financial education and consumer behaviour. Below, Professor Rowlingson gives an account of Irni’s productive visit to CHASM:
‘Irni gave her seminar on the first day of her fellowship and the feedback from this was very helpful when working on the paper we are developing. We also met with Lindsey Appleyard, CHASM Associate, to discuss the paper and then myself and Irni worked intensively together on all aspects of the paper including the data analysis. The paper is now drafted and the three of us are making some final edits before sending off to a journal for review. In the context of increasing financialisation across the globe, the paper critically reviews the concepts of financial capability and inclusion, and the relationship between the two. It then applies this critical approach to an analysis of data on financial capability and inclusion in Southeast Asia. We argue that financial capability and inclusion are complex concepts which need to be understood in the context of the particular society and economy within which they are being discussed. And while existing research shows a correlation between growth and financial capability/inclusion, this should not lead to simplistic assumptions but, again, needs to be considered alongside other evidence, for example, a correlation between inequality and financial capability/inclusion.
Irni also attended the CHASM annual conference and a conference on Developments in Alternative Finance run by Professor Hisham Farag and co-sponsored by Birmingham Business School on Birmingham Business School and the Journal of Corporate Finance. She also took part in discussions about establishing a network on Southeast Asian Social Policy and we also discussed potential collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia.’