Queen Máxima to meet with Global Standard-Setting Bodies on financial health

On Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 March Her Majesty Queen Máxima is visiting the financial sector’s Global Standard-Setting Bodies (SSBs) at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland. There she will speak with governors of central banks and representatives of governance institutions about the current state of financial inclusion and financial health. Queen Máxima is the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).  

In recent years, central banks and SSBs have increasingly been taking account of financial inclusion in their work. This has helped raise the rate of financial inclusion from 51% in 2011 to 76% in 2021 (Global Findex Database, 2011 and 2021). Now that greater numbers of people have a bank account that they can use to receive money, transfer funds, pay bills and build a credit history, other financial products such as savings accounts, insurance policies and affordable loans are also increasingly within reach for them. These kinds of services help enhance financial resilience, economic development and financial health. The term ‘financial health’ refers to the degree to which a household has control over its day-to-day income and spending, is resilient to financial setbacks, is able to reach financial goals and feels secure in its financial future (Financial Health Working Group UNSGSA).

Both in her UN work and in the Netherlands, Queen Máxima advocates making financial health a guiding principle in developing financial products, services and policies that meet users’ needs. In Basel, the Queen’s talks will focus in part on the development of legislation on customised financial products. SSBs set global guidelines and standards for financial institutions and other organisations. These are designed to safeguard the integrity (financial and otherwise) and soundness of the products and services those organisations offer. 

On Tuesday 12 March Queen Máxima will co-chair the High-Level Meeting on Financial Inclusion, together with BIS General Manager Agustín Carstens. In 2019, the BIS, the SSBs and the wider financial inclusion community (including the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the IMF and the World Bank Group) concluded an agreement to further enhance cooperation on financial inclusion. Despite the considerable progress achieved so far, 24% of adults worldwide still have no access to financial services that could allow them to build better lives. The ultimate goal of the inclusion community is improving people’s financial health.

Queen Máxima will conclude her visit with a number of bilateral discussions with central bank governors on the current state of financial inclusion and financial health in their respective countries. 

Government Information Service, no. 68