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Caroline Rookes: MAS review of Farnish report will be ‘open and transparent’

Money Advice Service chief executive Caroline Rookes has promised its review of recommendations published by Christine Farnish will be “open and transparent”.

Earlier today, the Farnish report recommended that the MAS budget for consumer education be halved, while the body should also face a substantial reorganisation.

The MAS has pledged to investigate the findings before reporting back to the Treasury in the Autumn, but critics have described the plans as the equivalent of “asking a school child to mark their own homework”.

Rookes says the MAS will create a “challenge panel” to review its work, comprising financial services firms, representatives from the charity sector and advisers.

She says: “We plan to do this as a very open and transparent piece of work, and we will work very closely with our stakeholders.

“All the organisations that we work closely with I would anticipate being represented. They can challenge the work we are doing, and any conclusions we might be reaching.”

MAS will be seeking to create the panel as soon as possible, Rookes adds, with initial work beginning on the review next week.

One topic unlikely to be breached in the early days of the review is Farnish’s recommendation that the MAS budget for “money advice” be slashed to half its existing size of £43m.

Rookes says MAS will only be able to reach an opinion on costs when it has evaluated how it will perform in a renewed structure.

She says: “We need to look very closely at the extent to which the market does provide impartial advice, and the extent to which we can operate as a standard setter than a direct deliverer.

“[Farnish] is recommending we take a more active and strategic role in education for example, and that’s a new role for us and that is going to require additional resources. But it’s impossible to see until we have performed some additional work.”

Fundamentally, however, Rookes says she is happy the Farnish report concluded there is a future need for MAS in both its debt advice and consumer education divisions.

“The report concludes that MAS has two very important functions,” Rookes says. “That to me is confirmation that there is a future for MAS.”

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Comments

There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “We need to look very closely at the extent to which the market does provide impartial advice, and the extent to which we can operate as a standard setter than a direct deliverer.”

    Still casting aspersions on advisers, I see, by suggesting that the market doesn’t necessarily provide impartial advice.

    “…that’s a new role for us and that is going to require additional resources.”

    I think that roughly translates as “our investigation is going to conclude that we actually need even more funding, since we’ll have to learn how to do new things”.

  2. E L Wisty (an only twin) 20th March 2015 at 4:56 pm

    It beggars belief that this particular turkey will vote for an early Christmas!

    As for “open and transparent”, it is only a few months since La Rookes called the ethical integrity of our profession into question and, despite a number of complaints to MAS, no action has been taken.

    The Farnish Report highlights the need for a slimmed-down MAS to engage with the advisory community. How can it do that under the leadership of a CEO held in contempt by us?

  3. The review will waste another 6 months with normal ongoing costs of just another 20 million plus the review costs. What does any of that do for the public?

  4. The unfarnished truth? I somehow doubt it.

  5. additional resources? no redirection is what the review said hard to review it if you don’t read it.

  6. How wil the “panel” be selected?
    Will some panel members be paid and some not? i.e. quangocrats are paid it is part of their job, but advisers have to give freely of their time…. in order to get representation.

  7. Over the years how many “consultations” / “Reviews” have been carried out that produced the result the “Establishment” wanted anyway ?

    As soon as there is not the required result there has to be another enquiry to push any decision further down the road. If the “Establishment” feel they are not going to get what they want, they will just kick it in to the long grass with excuses and let everyone forget about it.

    The MAS is sinking – do they man the lifeboats or do they ignore the right thing to do and re-arrange the deck chairs while checking the sheet music for the band ?

  8. Derek Bradley ceo Panacea Adviser 23rd March 2015 at 7:40 am

    “Rookes says the MAS will create a “challenge panel” to review its work”. What on earth is a “challenge panel”? Who thinks up these descriptions, what is the point. @Jack Martin is correct.

    The long grass of a new government with new agendas beckons I fear.

  9. Truth is; they (MAS) will, throw this party just as far as they can, and it will drag on for years.

    Me I am sick to back teeth with the whole damn lot of them, MAS, FCA, FOS, FSCS, the stench of hypocrisy stinks, they say, they shout, they are the consumer champion, yet behind closed doors they waste money, the likes I have never seen before, and continue ignore their own mistakes, and let the car crashes pile up behind them !
    And who is the biggest loser in all this ? yep the consumer !!

  10. “We need to look very closely at the extent to which the market does provide impartial advice, and the extent to which we can operate as a standard setter than a direct deliverer.” – Talk about operating outside of your remit.

    It is categorically not MAS’s remit to police the advice market or set standards. That is why we have the FCA. Hopefully the writing is on the wall for these guys. They should be scaled down to only providing debt management guidance and basic financial information. Let the CAS and TPAS deal with pensions guidance and the FCA with financial advice.

  11. Talking of education, the money would be better spent devising something that could be added to the national curriculum and taught in schools (by teachers, not by the MAS).

  12. “Rookes says she is happy the Farnish report concluded there is a future need for MAS in both its debt advice and consumer education divisions.”

    £43 million to do just this!!!

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