ARCHIVE: Annual MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion: Putting clients at the Centre of Financial Inclusion

Toronto, ON | July 8, 2013

Hundreds of leading microfinance and financial services experts from around the world will gather at the first annual MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion in Turin, Italy on July 19th and 20th. It will be a platform for discussion about how to better serve people living in poverty with responsible, transparent financial services. This will be the first of five annual events co-hosted with the Boulder Institute of Microfinance.

The theme for this year’s event is “Clients at the Centre.” The Symposium will tackle many key issues for the financial inclusion sector as it tests new models, new technologies, and new possibilities. Recent advances in mobile services have created opportunities to expand the reach of financial products while driving down the costs for both individuals and institutions. Increasingly, institutions are working together to foster greater transparency in the sector. New products in insurance and credit are being developed to help individuals and families protect their assets and stabilize their incomes.

The agenda of the Symposium is designed to challenge current thinking around the needs of those living in poverty. Participants will tackle difficult questions, such as where the greatest opportunities for scale are, how to overcome barriers in providing the most client responsive products and services, and how and when to segment clients. Participants will also explore how to advance the use and reach of new technologies such as mobile money, and how savings and insurance can serve lowincome clients.

“We are at a pivotal time in the sector. We know that our work in Financial Inclusion must be guided by a real understanding of what helps an individual or a family improve their quality of life,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “For the next five years, this Symposium will play an important role in shaping the Financial Inclusion agenda, so that our efforts in the coming years are in service of people living in poverty.”

“This gathering includes some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of microfinance who will show their practical experiments, successes and challenges in moving the field beyond the well-known microcredit model,” said Robert Christen, President of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. “Only through this type of dialogue can we figure out what the barriers are to giving people the safe, affordable, easy-to-use services they need most in a way that makes business sense for providers. I think most all of us agree that these challenges can and will be overcome.”

Featured speakers and presenters include Tilman Ehrbeck of the Consultative Gap to Assist the Poor, Piyush Tantia of ideas42, author and microfinance expert Marguerite Robinson, David Porteous of Bankable Frontiers Associates, and Sam Maimbo of the World Bank.

For more information about the Symposium, visit:

Participants and organizers will be tweeting about the event using the following Twitter hashtag:#SoFI2013

About The MasterCard Foundation – The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $6 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 50 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote Financial Inclusion and advance Youth Learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is separate and independent from the company. Its policies, operations, and funding decisions are determined by its own Foundation Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about the Foundation, please

About the Boulder Institute of Microfinance – The Boulder Institute of Microfinance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access of formal financial services for low-income families to help them achieve their multiple goals and ultimately improve their lives. The institute offers annual microfinance training programs that challenge microfinance professionals to engage in critical thinking around decisions they face in their microfinance activities and become familiar with the evidence behind success and failure in the provision of financial services. Over the past 18 years, our Microfinance Training Programs have reached senior and mid-level staff of microfinance institutions, commercial banks, government agencies (both donors and central banks), and support organizations. For more information, please visit


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