Principal®’s Global Financial Inclusion Index Develops a Benchmark for Financial Security and Inclusion in Global Economies

Singapore is the world’s most financially inclusive market, alongside the United States, Northern Europe and Hong Kong, according to the first Global Financial Inclusion Index (Index) sponsored by Main financial group®. The research, conducted by the Center for Economics and Business Research and published today, examines the extent to which a market’s government, financial system and respective employers provide relevant tools, services and advice to enable levels higher levels of financial inclusion.

“Financial inclusion is fundamental to global economic progress. As an organization dedicated to helping more people gain access to financial security, we believe that inclusion is integral to a market’s ability to prepare for and recover from adversity, to grow sustainable way and build a better future,” said Dan Houston, Chairman of the Board. , and CEO of Principal®. “The Global Financial Inclusion Index provides a rigorous, data-driven framework for tracking financial inclusion globally. Through this, we can identify structural gaps in financial inclusiveness and take action to close them, and many others, to help build a more productive and protected workforce and society.

The index examines 42 markets and scores them across three pillars – government support, financial system support and employer support – using data points from public and survey-based sources.

  • Government support The pillar examines the extent to which governments promote and enable financial inclusion, taking into account data on public support for pensions, deposit and consumer protection, levels of employment, education and financial literacy, and online connectivity.
  • Financial system support the pillar examines the availability and adoption of various financial products, services and education, considering data on access to bank accounts and credit, the maturation of financial technology and the use of real-time payments, and the overall effectiveness of the financial services sector in promoting the confidence and growth of small and medium enterprises.
  • Employer support pillar assesses the availability and impact of employer programs to improve financial well-being and employee inclusion across various dimensions such as employee pension contributions, employee insurance programs, and financial counseling.

In its first year, the index is helping to develop a benchmark for financial security and inclusion in global economies.

Main findings

  • In general, developed economies tend to cluster towards the top of the index, and emerging and developing economies cluster towards the bottom. Six of the top 10 financial inclusion markets are European and, within this group, four are Nordic. Major European economies rank at the bottom of the table, with Italy being a particular exception at 37th. The bottom half of the ranking consists mainly of countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Argentina ranks last.

  • Economies that offer strong support from their government and financial system tend to offer a lower level of employer support – and the reverse is also true. Developed economies generally score well on government and financial system support, while emerging economies generally score better on employer support.
  • When considering this research on an investment basis, the markets analyzed can be broadly grouped into four categories – mature and forward-looking economies; mature and backward economies; young and forward-looking economies; and the dependent economies – each of which gives an indication of several of the short, medium and long-term risks to which the economies are exposed. There are outliers in these categories – primarily some of the largest economies, including the United States, China and India – that don’t fit neatly into a single category.
  • The results suggest that financial inclusion can be a powerful predictor of next-generation capital and wealth markets globally. When the performance of each pillar is strong, it helps to promote business growth and confidence and can lead to the accelerated development of a capital market. These three pillars can provide insight into its overall economic maturity and market development and suggest ways forward.
  • Markets that rank high on financial inclusion also tend to perform well on other societal factors such as food security, productivity, economic and social resilience, living standards and adaptation to climate change. There are strong positive correlations between index rankings and market rankings in several other indices that track key factors affecting global populations today.

“The Index provides a horizontal, data-driven view for developed and emerging markets to learn from each other when it comes to fostering financially inclusive citizenship,” said Kay Neufeld, Head of Forecasting and Leadership. informed at the Center for Economics and Business Research. . “We tracked the index against metrics that track some of the most important trends facing society today – like food insecurity and climate change – and recognized a clear relationship between financial inclusion and the factors that contribute to a prosperous society.”

Global Financial Inclusion Index

Top 10 best performing markets

The 10 worst performing markets


Singapore (68.9)


Turkey (36.1)


United States (68.3)


South Africa (34.1)


Sweden (65.4)


Brazil (33.9)


Hong Kong (65.1)


Mexico (33.3)


Finland (64.7)


Italy (32.8)


Denmark (63.9)


Peru (32.7)


Australia (63.6)


Colombia (32.2)


Switzerland (63.4)


Nigeria (26.9)


Norway (63.1)


Ghana (22.2)


Netherlands (59.8)


Argentina (19.2)

To read the full report and methodology, please Click here.

To view a summary infographic, please Click here.

About Principal Financial Group®

Main financial group® (Nasdaq: PFG) is a global financial company with 18,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for over 140 years, we help over 54 million customers1 plan, protect, invest and retire, while working to support the communities in which we operate and build a diverse and inclusive workforce. Director® is proud to be recognized as one of America’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies2a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a top 10 workplace in financial management3.” Learn more about Principal and our commitment to building a better tomorrow at

1 To 30 June 2022

2 Barrons, 2022

3 Pensions and investments, 2021

About the Center for Economic and Business Research (Cebr)

The Center for Economics and Business Research is an independent consultancy renowned for its sound business advice based on extensive and insightful research. Since 1992, Cebr has been at the forefront of business and public interest research, providing analysis, forecasting and strategic advice to large UK and multinational companies, financial institutions, government departments and agencies and trade bodies. For more information about Cebr, please visit

© 2022 Principal Financial Services, Inc.

Director®Main financial group®and Principal and design are registered trademarks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a Principal Financial Group company, in the United States and are trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., in various countries of the world.

The Global Financial Inclusion Index is a proprietary model output based on certain assumptions which may change, are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon as a material basis for any investment decision.

Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Company®. Plan administration services provided by Principal Life. Principal Funds, Inc. is distributed by Principal Funds Distributor, Inc. Securities offered by Principal Securities, Inc., Member SIPC and/or Independent Broker/Dealers. Referenced companies are members of the Principal Financial Group®Des Moines, IA 50392.​ ©2022 Principal Financial Services, Inc.

Sarah J. Greer