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Call for cash to start up free advice service

Chairman of the FSA consumer panel Colin Brown is calling on the Treasury and the financial services industry to fund a generic advice service for all consumers.

Speaking at last week&#39s conference, Brown said a free hol-istic healthcheck should be available to improve consumer understanding of finance.

He said money is needed to establish the service to tackle the problem of people not shopping around before making investment decisions and to help “consumers operate their side of the market more effectively”.

According to Brown, the public “do not understand risk, do not save enough, do not protect themselves enough and as far as regulatory matters are concerned they do not understand them at all”.

He expressed concern about the “dire” level of consumer understanding of financial services. He said the industry must take some responsibility as issues will not be resolved just because of the FSA&#39s consumer education programme.

Brown said: “A financial healthcheck giving a holistic consideration of people&#39s circumstances needs investment to be set up. Perhaps the Treasury will cough up or a collective financial services fund could be established.”

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