Advisers slam MAS ‘free advice’ marketing campaign

Money Advice Service advert

Advisers have slammed the Money Advice Service’s latest marketing campaign for continuing to promote the idea of “free” advice.

This week, the MAS launched a six-week marketing campaign on television, in print and online with the tagline, What Does Ma Think?

The TV advertisements focus on life events, including buying a property, redundancy and everyday finances and started on Monday.

The previous ad campaign caused anger among advisers for sugesting the service offered “free, unbiased advice” which is a “breath of fresh air”. The new adverts promote the MAS’s “free and impartial” advice service and highlight the fact it was set up by the Government.

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “At present, the MAS is working as a competitor to the industry and is trying to undermine the independent financial advice sector by using the phrase ‘free and impartial financial advice’. The post-RDR world is meant to highlight the fact that there is no such thing as free financial advice.”

Prudent Financial Investments IFA Ned Naylor says: “There has never been adequate emphasis on directing individuals to a qualified IFAs, despite the fact it will be the best avenue for some consumers.”

The MAS plans to spend £19m of its £46.3m budget in 2012/13 on marketing and brand awareness. Last week, Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy criticised its “colossal” marketing spend.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “The MAS is symptomatic of a fundamental policy failure in terms of joined-up thinking between the FSA, the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver a coherent financial capability strategy.”