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Caroline Rookes: Advisers’ money has not been wasted on MAS

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The Money Advice Service chief executive Caroline Rookes says Treasury proposals to scrap the organisation do not mean advisers’ money has been wasted and that the “MAS legacy has not been lost”.

The Treasury revealed plans to close the MAS as part of a restructure of guidance services, with parts of the organisation folded into two new bodies focused on pensions and money services.

Nonetheless, Rookes points to the MAS’ most recent business plan, which saw the service increase its focus on gaps in existing guidance.

She says: “The last review we published recommended that we become a more strategic body that provided more of a gap filling service than direct delivery.

“So it’s not a different direction, but it’s moving much more quickly towards the sort of organisation that was recommended last year.

“It may be that we don’t deliver services any more, but one of the great success stories for us were the resources that we developed for the pension changes and in particular the retirement adviser directory. That work is not wasted, and so resources like that we will move over to the new pensions organisation.

“Other tools and resources we have built, where they are valuable, will got to other websites and organisations that will continue to host them.

“So our legacy is not lost, quite the reverse.”

The Government hopes to have a new guidance structure in place by April 2018, and the MAS chief says it is too early to decide whether she will seek a role.

Rookes says the number of employees the successor organisations will retain has not yet been set out.

But she admits the 150 staff only found out about the closure when reports first emerged on Tuesday night, which Rookes says was “most unhelpful”.

By the end of 2015/16, the MAS will have taken in almost £400m in levies from the financial services industry, but Rookes denies the closure of the service means the money was wasted.

She says: “Many millions of people have been helped, many of our tools will continue, and the financial capability strategy will continue for some time.

“I don’t accept for one moment that the money has been wasted.”

She adds: “I’m the one that has directed the MAS to produce the business plan for 2016/17, but at the end of the day, it’s not my decision. It’s the decision of Government, they have decided they want to take a different approach and we must accept that.”

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Comments

There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Whilst I somehow doubt this woman will be out of a job at a quango for very long, perhaps she should consider whether she is suitably qualified. No forget that she is perfectly qualified for a position on a quango – silly me !

  2. Staggering stupidity and arrogance.

  3. Any redundancy should be paid by Govt and not deducted via a levy on advisory firms.

  4. jonathan gamlin 18th March 2016 at 9:43 am

    It’s been a waste of money from day one , should have been a link to unbiased website so enquiries could have been dealt with by advisers who wished to deal with this sector of advice from start to finish .

  5. Were there any truth in Rookes’ claim for the MAS that “Many millions (??) of people have been helped”, why has the government decided to scrap it? In just what tangible, quantifiable and long-lasting ways have all these millions of people been helped? Given that the MAS operates no sort of follow up system to find out how users of the service are getting on 6 or 12 months later, how can she know? It’s just whistling in the dark in a feeble attempt to salvage a few shreds of credibility for what everyone else knows has been nothing but a white elephant.

  6. For pity’s sake, when will Ms Rookes stop spinning??
    Look dear, you’ve been canned. Can’t you spot that? You were told to halve your activities, your budget and your staff, and you didn’t. So the Treasury have stepped in and canned you. There will no role for you and your existing staff in the new streamlined body. Now, do you need me to come and pack your clutter into a box and show you out of your office, or are you going to get the message do it yourself?

  7. Pretty typical spin rubbish. Just watch as she moves onto another monstrous troughing job with a huge pay packet, financed by other hard working people.

  8. She may have formed her own conclusion that the FS industry cannot be trusted, however there has been a resounding response from us and now backed by government that she is fact ……… USELESS hahahahahaha please make sure the branches of the tree don’t smack you in the face on the fall back down to terra-firma

  9. That the Money Advice Service was attempting to build a legacy speaks volumes about the root cause of its failure. Sadly the comments from Caroline Rookes in this article read like she is in complete denial about the closure. I really hope she isn’t the type to keep showing up to work long after being made redundant.

  10. “But one of the major successes is that we have created a retirement adviser directory”

    What a crock & its sums up the waste of funds they have been as anyone wanting retirement advice all they have to do is go on the FCA register for local & relevant business. Plus all these changes she speaks about were forced upon her, yet she’s claiming credit. This is truly unbelievable!

    Here is a Gravy train rider of the highest order, in denial til the end with a cheque book in her hand no doubt.

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