Financial Services Sector Assessment

fssaPFIP conducted Financial Services Sector Assessments (FSSAs) in Fiji and Samoa to provide an analytical snapshot of a country’s financial services landscape to identify market trends, constraints and opportunities.

These assessments utilize a financial systems approach. This involves:

  • An assessment of the characteristics of the client market and the structure of demand for financial services,
  • Existing providers of financial services
  • Financial and non-financial infrastructure for these retailers (such as training, technical assistance, audit and fund provision) and
  • The enabling environment at macro-level, including policies, legislation and regulation pertaining to or affecting the finance sector.

The reports are intended to provide an overview of the status of the financial services sector for the prospective of providing services to low-income and rural populations. Reports also offer analytical information to policy makers, NGOs and financial institutions. The information is used by policy makers to understand and address the market constraints, at the same time highlighting opportunities for service providers to improve the access and quality of financial services.

Key Findings in Fiji

  • The rate of poverty in Fiji may have increased after 2002 as a result of a low rate of economic growth and higher prices of basic food items
  • Fiji’s economy is increasingly dependent on services, particularly tourism, finance, communications and personal services
  • A decline in manufacturing resulted in a small percentage of high-income business, a small salaried middle class and a large number of low-income wage earners in the urban economy
  • Wage earners holding semi-permanent service sector jobs are largely underserved by financial institutions
  • Compared to other PICs, the financial sector in Fiji has well-developed institutions and a broad array of financial services
  • Fiji has a financial infrastructure conducive to microfinance

Key Findings in Samoa

  • The Central Bank of Samoa has implemented a number of progressive and enabling regulations supporting the expansion of financial services
  • The variety of Samoa’s financial service providers offer only a limited range of services concentrated in urban areas
  • Access to financial services is limited in places outside of Apia
  • There are numerous opportunities for financial service providers to expand the market in rural areas

There is an urgent need for the government and other stakeholders to improve and regulate the traditional and digital financial infrastructures