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 service, but the government said it now preferred to merge the three bodies to give consumers clarity.
MAS customer director John Penberthy-Smith says that the move will be positive for consumers, even though MAS may no longer exist in its current form.
He told Money Marketing: “It will take a bit of time to get clarity on the next steps but we have been heavily involved and continue to be supportive.”
“The opportunity we have is the opportunity to understand the whole customer journey to ensure people don’t get lost or confused. Gathering it together in a holistic way of how money works for people gives us an opportunity to be effective and efficient.”
“We have been supporting the Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and the FCA all through the process, providing support and information wherever we can. We will continue to do that in the next part of the process.”
Penberthy-Smith says that the organisation already worked closely with TPAS and Pension Wise and was likely to work “even more closely” with them in future.
He adds: “Ultimately it comes down to making sure it’s clear, simple and accessible. We’re not a body working on its own, we are working with third sector, the government, private companies, all trying to help customers through their money lives.”
“In the end we have got to do it in a way that’s convenient for the consumer not the organisation.”
Penberthy-Smith says MAS plans to keep building on its directory of financial advisers that consumers can search to get regulated advice as consultations on the future of the organisation continue.
MAS has just issued an Invitation to Quote for financial advice firms who want to offer workplace advice to MAS’ staff.
MAS hopes to have a workplace adviser in place by the end of the year which will give general support to staff on a regular basis but also be available when individuals want more tailored advice.
Penberthy-Smith says: “We just think it’s a really important. Every day we are recommending that to people who contact us.”
“We want to make sure we are selecting someone with experience of dealing with organisations rather than individuals or smaller groups. While their advice would be valid we wanted someone with more experience in that space.”