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Caroline Rookes: The changing role of the MAS

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The Money Advice Service was launched in April 2011 to enhance people’s understanding of money matters and to help them better manage their financial affairs.

Although our remit is the same – with responsibilities for co-ordinating debt advice added the following year – our approach has changed significantly over the last two years.

Only by working in partnership with others can we achieve the scale and everyday touch points we need to get messages to consumers about money matters when they are most receptive to change.

Over the last few years, therefore, we have focused on co-ordination and collaboration.

This will manifest itself in the launch of the 10-year Financial Capability Strategy for the UK in late October, as we work with partners from across the financial industry, including financial advisers, to create a collective impact.

The Financial Capability Strategy will be at the heart of the Money Advice Service’s work as we move from trying to meet consumers’ advice needs directly to becoming a more streamlined and strategic organisation.

Our role will be to co-ordinate activity across the sector, identifying gaps in provision and working with partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure those gaps are filled. We will also play an important role in collecting and sharing evidence to inform the design of future projects.

Where is this taking us? We know children develop the ‘habits of mind’ that inform their financial behaviours by the age of seven – so improving financial capability has to start early.

We have taken on a significant role in co-ordinating financial education initiatives in schools. We have launched a joint innovation and evaluation fund with the Education Endowment Foundation to provide schools with a set of interventions that improve financial capability and attainment, and can be delivered cost effectively at scale.

Collaborating with debt advice partners has enabled us to deliver free debt advice services to even more people while reducing the cost per session. There are important lessons from this debt model we’d like to apply to our money advice services.

We can provide best value to levy-payers if the levy is used to co-ordinate and focus the financial capability work of organisations that are much larger than the Money Advice Service.

Our dedicated partnership team regularly liaises with local authorities, charities, the financial services sector and media channels to provide content and tools to help their audiences get the information they need to manage their money better.

We worked with Rightmove to develop a mortgage timeline tool, partnered with Saga to provide advice about how to protect financial assets and divide pensions after a divorce, and collaborated with local authorities and social landlords to help residents manage welfare reforms.

We’ve also significantly reduced our marketing budget and are instead focusing on alternative methods of getting messages across to consumers.

This activity is indicative of the new partnership-based approach the Money Advice Service is taking. The forthcoming launch of the Financial Capability Strategy represents another significant step forward for us as we work with our partners and stakeholders to help change people’s lives by encouraging them to manage their money better.

Caroline Rookes is chief executive of the Money Advice Service

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Oh, you were still here?

    “We know children develop the ‘habits of mind’ that inform their financial behaviours by the age of seven” – now there’s a statement deserving a “citation needed” if ever there was one.

    The study in question (http://bit.ly/1LMEMPe) contains a lot of probably uncontroversial stuff about paediatric metacognition (that is, “learning to learn”) which might be of vague interest to anyone who wants to know how young children develop. But evidence that these early learning processes are connected in any way with later understanding of higher-level financial concepts, such as understanding risk and reward or debt interest, is extremely thin on the ground.

    For example, it suggests that if a child demands the purchase of something you can use a “distraction technique” like suggesting a bike ride. Probably a helpful tip for a put-upon parent. Does it tell us anything about how to stop adults getting into debt? Or whether the child whose parent knows these rather cheap tricks will be less likely to get into debt as an adult? Evidence there is none.

    A ten year plan – how quaint, I didn’t realise Corbyn had been elected already. Just get rid of the MAS. It’s sad watching them mope around outside the Pension Wise party pretending that they totally didn’t want to be invited and it’s not their scene anyway.

  2. My daughter just turned seven, she likes pretty dresses, unicorns ,mermaids and her biggest concern is where the next ice cream or bar of choccy is coming from.

    I don’t think I would want a daughter who wasn’t a dreamer and picked flowers to put in her hair on a sunny day. I would be worried if she started talking about pension payments and isas. I love her just as she is thanks.

  3. Groping around for things to release to the public at these event typifies what the MAS is actually all about. Protecting one’s job at all costs. While that is not an unnatural thing to do it galls me that this woman does this job with me paying her and everyone else in MAS. It has been one disaster after another and yet it is still here. It is not fit for purpose: Remove it, dump it, eradicate it, expunge it, exterminate it…. FGS get rid of it!!!!!!

  4. We worked with Rightmove to develop a mortgage timeline tool, partnered with Saga to provide advice about how to protect financial assets and divide pensions after a divorce,

    I have to say these really sound like the right partners, surely if you want to get a mortgage tool, go to a lender who already has one, want legal advice about divorce, go to a legal professional.

    Simples.

  5. My clients are just so grateful that they are forced to pay for those who don’t want to pay for advice.

  6. It’s time to put this organisation out of it’s misery. It’s the kindest, most humane thing to do.

  7. If you read what she spouts it is just gobbledygook and claptrap that the average half wit in the UK has no idea of what she is saying or what it means. Yet, these are the people she is supposed to be “guiding.”

    Utter waste of time and money.

  8. 10 year plan ???? I think we should get these clowns shut down in 10 weeks.

  9. Not one example of MAS working with independent financial advisers or smaller firms.

    There are over 20,000 independent financial advisers mainly small practices in the UK and not once has Caroline Brooks engaged with these advisers. I wrote to Caroline a number of months ago asking to work with MAS with regards to people in Ipswich who are looking for a pension investment advice, needless to say I’m still waiting for contact after her initial email from her PA stating she would keep us in mind.

    Obviously she is only interested in either unregulated providers like Martin Lewis or large organisations. The register of financial advisers on the website is still badly signposted and I really don’t think that they are working with IFA’s.

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