Advisers have called for the Money Advice Service to be abolished and its budget re-directed elsewhere after it was axed from delivering pension guidance.
The Treasury has chosen the Citizens Advice Bureau and The Pensions Advisory Service to deliver its guaranteed guidance sessions. The guidance is designed to support radical new pension freedoms in April next year.
The MAS was expected to play a key role but will now only offer expertise in the background.
Advisers say the MAS budget, which is £81.1m in 2014/15 with one-sixth or £13.2m spent on marketing, should now be spent in other areas.
MAS is subject to an independent review commissioned by the Treasury, which is expected to report by the end of the year. The review has no limitations and could call for the service to be signifcantly reformed or abolished.
Page Russell director Tim Page says: “This raises a big question over the future of MAS. I would hope for the benefit of levy payers that the Treasury comes to a swift decision over whether this quango continues and I hope it doesn’t.
“The worst situation is that they carry on spending everyone’s money but, because they are out of the guidance picture, become even more irrelevant.”
Syndaxi managing director Robert Reid says: “We now need to ask whether MAS should exist at all and where to put the money. It could go to the CAB.
“Why re-invent the wheel? I never agreed with the creation of MAS in the first place. It was an ego-trip for Gordon Brown and Otto Thoresen. We have wasted a lot of money here and the Government has a duty to deploy it more sensibly.”
Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthew says: “This is the biggest thing the MAS was set up for and it is not fit to do it, so its budget must be re-directed to something more useful. We are paying for it, after all.”