Money Advice Service to offer "advice-type" activity

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The Money Advice Service (MAS) says it is moving towards offering an “advice-type” service, rather than information and guidance only, but insists it will not enter the regulated advice space.

Speaking at the Marketforce conference on the future of distribution in financial services in London today, Francis McGee, policy lead at MAS, said people are more aware of the need for financial advice in tough economic times, but it is difficult to convert that awareness into action.

McGee said: “Advice of all kinds can help with that. Advice is more directional, more assertive, more personal, than simply and solely information and education-type activity. Which is why at MAS we are moving very clearly from just doing information and education towards doing advice-type activity.”

Ross Anderson, RDR programme manager at Aviva, questioned McGee on whether this signals that MAS is moving into regulated financial advice.

McGee said: “No”

Earlier this month, the MAS refused to answer questions about how much it is spending on redundancy packages, directors’ remuneration and overseas trips for senior management.

Money Marketing, Fundweb’s sister publication, put a number of questions to Tony Hobman, chief executive, but the service refused to provide detailed answers.

Earlier this month, Money Marketing revealed that three-quarters of the MAS team of 150 have been put on consultation.

The majority of MAS staff moved across from the FSA’s Consumer Financial Education Body when it became the MAS in April.

An MAS spokeswoman has confirmed that all staff who moved across from the FSA are entitled to “a comprehensive redundancy” package, as set out in the FSA’s employee handbook. The handbook states the maximum payment allowed is the greater of one year’s salary or £100,000.

The MAS is funded by a statutory industry levy. It has a budget of £43.7m for 2011-12, which includes £13.5m for staff costs.

Last week, Money Marketing revealed that MAS spent more than £250,000 rebranding the Money Made Clear and Consumer Financial Education Body websites before its launch in April.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • See the writing on the wall people!! It isn’t called the Money Advice Service for nothing. What an insult to those of us who have been robbed, at regulatory gun point, to fund this excuse for a “consumer education vehicle”.
    Let the play begin:-
    Deep in Black Adder Castle (Canary Towers) the plot thickens; “Hey Blackadder (AKA Hector)” says a concerned number cruncher in accounts, “we have too many staff in the Consumer Financial Education Body, we are going to have to make them officially redundant”, having done bugger all to educate the consumer for the past however many years. “No prob’s” says Blackadder “we’ll get the industry to pay for it as usual, but first we’ll set up our own Financial Advice business, again funded by the industry and kill two birds with one stone so to speak”! Why we will need to do that?, says Baldric. Well who is going to advise the great unwashed when we have rid ourselves of those infernal IFA’s and more importantly were is our funding going to come from besides the Bank’s who are going to be eternally grateful for killing off their main competition.
    Enter the MAS experiment, dump the soon to be redundant staff in there, agree with the industry, who already know it won’t work and will be only too glad to say we told you so; then get rid of those who will go quietly and keep the others on a consultancy until we can dream up another cunning plan.
    “Haven’t you forgotten”, says Baldric, “we have already got the cunning plan in place, the two headed serpent called FCA & CPMA” Exit stage left or the South of France, Spain, South Africa, Ireland or any other country where you can ply your trade and won’t be hounded out of business.

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