MAS chief executive to step down

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Caroline Rookes will step down as head of the Money Advice Service in April next year.

In a letter to stakeholders today, Rookes said that she had originally planned to retire in February this year, but wanted to stay to help steer the government’s discussions over the future of the public guidance services.

However, now that the government has decided to merge the three guidance services, she said a successor would be best placed to oversee this transition.

Rookes said: “My plan was to leave after my initial three-year term concluded in February 2016. However, with such a critical debate developing at that time around the future of money guidance I decided it was right to stay on to help shape that thinking.

“Getting the next step right for the interlinked areas of debt and money guidance, and pressing the urgent need to address stubbornly low levels of financial capability is essential. I was therefore delighted to see the Government announcement following consultation that there will be one guidance body rather than the two originally proposed.”

“With such important developments now secured, this is the right time to pass on the reins to someone else to build on our achievements and to lead MAS through the transition period. I plan to remain at MAS until next April to ensure a smooth transition.”

MAS chairman Andy Briscoe called Rookes an “outstanding leader” over a “challenging time” for the organisation.

The government’s original proposal had been to  leave MAS as a standalone, streamlined money guidance body and combine Pension Wise with TPAS into a new pensions guidance service. However, the government said in an October consultation it now preferred to merge the three bodies to give consumers clarity.

The new model is due to come into effect by April 2018.