View more on these topics

MAS chief: Uncertainty over future of guidance has caused a ‘difficult year’


Uncertainty over the future direction of public financial guidance has created a “difficult” year for the Money Advice Service, the organisation’s outgoing chief executive has admitted.

In the MAS business plan for the 2017/18 financial year, Caroline Rookes says that the organisation will ensure a smooth transition into the new single guidance body which will combined MAS with The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.

Earlier this week, the Government set out the remit its new single guidance body will have, which will include personal and occupation pensions guidance but not regulated pensions or investment advice.

Rookes says: “The uncertainty about the future scope and shape of a money guidance body has naturally made this a difficult year for the Money Advice Service’s staff. I want to pay tribute to my staff, fellow directors and board who have all remained focused on the task and given me great support.”

Rookes says that MAS still supports a combined public guidance service however, which will come into force after April 2018.

She says: “We know from experience that people’s money issues do not fall neatly into discrete categories, so we welcome the Government’s proposals for the future direction of financial guidance.

“We intend that the 2018/19 plan will ensure a smooth transition into the new body. In the meantime, we plan to fulfil our statutory remit. Informed by consumer needs, we will fill the gaps our corporate strategy identifies, and we will join up this work ever more closely with The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.”

The role of advisers

Speaking to Money Marketing, Rookes said that while the combined guidance will offer debt advice, it should retain a focus on moving clients towards fuller financial advice.

She says: “We have never been an advice organisation…Debt advice is regulated but that’s very very different to regulated money advice. I don’t anticipate that we will move across that boundary, nor should we. There’s a regulated advice community out there; our role is to ensure that where people need regulated advice they understand why they need it and get them there.”

Rookes will step down as MAS head in April next year. MAS has enlisted headhunting firm Moloney Search to begin looking for her replacement.

She says: “We want someone who has extensive experience of building strong stakeholder relationships, experience of developing high performing organisations. Do they need to have public sector experience? I think it would be beneficial if they did before, and if they have had experience of financial services, but at the end of the day it is a leadership role which requires someone who is capable of keeping the organisation running and meeting its statutory objectives whilst managing the transition.”

Rookes agreed that merging the three guidance bodies in to one could lead to efficiency savings, but said it was too early to guess how much adviser levies might fall by.



MAS chief: What the new guidance body should look like

Helping people acquire the skills and confidence to handle money issues and manage through critical financial events is one of the great social challenges in this turbulent world. As such, the Government is currently considering the scope and functions of a single body to oversee money guidance in the UK. Many people across socio-economic groups […]


MAS adviser directory nears 6,500 registrations

The Money Advice Service’s retirement adviser directory is approaching 6,500 registered advisers, the latest data shows. 128 new advisers registered for the directory between April and September, taking the total number to 6,477. 3,595 advice firms are now listed on the directory after 74 new firm registrations over the period. MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes […]


MAS director: Combining the three guidance bodies is a good move

The Money Advice Service has said it is supportive of the government’s plans to combine the organisation with Pension Wise and The Pensions Advisory Service into a single guidance body. The original proposal was to leave MAS as a standalone, streamlined money guidance body and combine Pension Wise with TPAS into a new pensions guidance […]

2016 Global Survey of Individual Investors: How is investor behaviour rewriting the job description for financial professionals?

Trapped between expectations for near double-digit returns and strong apprehensions about investing in persistently volatile markets, investors worldwide are of the opinion that professional financial advice is worth the fee. But even though they believe individuals who work with a financial professional are more likely to achieve their goals, investors have a clear vision of […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Says Ms. Rookes: “We have never been an advice organisation”. So why, when you don’t provide it, are you called the Money ADVICE Service? Is that not fundamentally misleading and an open invitation to people to approach you in the expectation of being able to get from you FOC something that you don’t actually offer? Why aren’t you called the Money INFORMATION or GUIDANCE Service? I’m surprised that no one has lodged a complaint against you with the ASA for misrepresentation.

    The mostly likely actions in the wake of a consultation with the MAS are:-

    1. Go to a regulated adviser and pay for the required services (exactly what most people who approach the MAS hope to avoid because, for consumers, it’s free),

    2. DIY, with a high possibility of getting it wrong,

    3. In the case of pension fund vesting, accept the holding provider’s own annuity (quite possibly not the most suitably structured one or based on the best rate),

    4. Try to find an adviser who’ll do a cut price deal on an Exec. Only basis (ever more difficult these days, I imagine) or

    5. Do nothing.

    Not a great setting for good consumer outcomes, is it?

  2. Sorry to bring it up but in 2014 Rookes said: “Am I worried about the ethics of regulated advisers? Personally, yes. (

    I think it is difficult for anybody who has qualified to be an adviser to take her seriously.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm