Advisers have lashed out at the Money Advice Service after a report by the Treasury select sub-committee stopped short of calling for the organisation to be scrapped.
The damning report, published last week after an 18-month inquiry, said the MAS is “not fit for purpose” and in need of a “radical overhaul”.
MPs say they considered recommending MAS be scrapped completely, but have granted it a “stay of execution” until the findings of a Government review into the MAS’ objectives are published. The National Audit Office is to publish a separate report on the value for money delivered by the MAS shortly.
However, the Treasury is set to carry out a review of the MAS between 2013 and 2015. But the sub-committee is calling for the review to be brought forward “as a matter of urgency” and be conducted by an independent body rather than the Treasury, over concerns it may have already decided the service should continue in its current form.
Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “Why do we need the MAS? It is a pointless and ill-thought out idea that is spending a lot of money to no real good effect.
“I would like to see it removed, closed down and dismantled. The service if full of misinformation and the whole industry thinks it is a joke.”
Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “How long do we have to wait for action? The MAS has to go. The valuable bits of what it does could be covered by Citizens Advice, and perhaps the Personal Finance Education Group.”
Hudson Green & Associates principal Ian Hudson says: “The money going to MAS would be better spent on educating teenagers but MPs are too scared to make a decision and scrap it.”
But Bloomsbury Wealth Management partner Jason Butler says: “I am not sure scrapping it is what is needed. It needs clear terms of reference, a clear understanding of what it can do and its budget could be reined in and used more effectively.”
MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says the body is fit for purpose and MPs’ evidence is out of date as it was taken more than a year ago.