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MAS posts £786k loss as chief exec pay hits £180k


The Money Advice Service has reported a loss of £786,000 for the year 2014/15 and handed chief executive Caroline Rookes a £20,000 pay rise.

It marks the first time MAS has made a loss since it was launched in 2010. In that time, levy income has more than doubled from an original take of £32m to £80.6m

In 2013/14 MAS underspent by £805,000, which was subtracted from the total  levied in 2014/15.

It then reached an agreement with the FCA and the Treasury to overspend in 2014/15, with funds taken from accumulated reserves.

However, both Rookes and corporate services director Lesley Robinson have been awarded pay rises.

Rookes saw her total pay increase from £163,000 in 2013/14 to £180,000 in 2015/16, while Robinson took home £204,000, up from £187,000 in 2013/14.

All MAS executives are eligible for discretionary performance-related bonuses, set by the advice body at 15 per cent for 2014/15.

MAS levy income rose from £78.8m in 2013/14 to £80.6m, and advisers will see their contributions to the service further increase 16 per cent over the coming year, with the sector’s levy rising from £3.6m to £4.2m.

Levy income for 2014/15 predominately went to the money advice unit, which took in £42.6m, while £38m went to the debt advice business.

However, the money advice unit recorded a loss of £1.4m, while the debt advice business recorded a profit of £1.5m.

The loss was partly driven by increased demand for services, with MAS reporting a surge of almost 90 per cent on numbers of people contacting the service over 2014/15, reaching 8.4m.

MAS spent £45.5m on service delivery, up from £40.9m in 2013/14.

Its money advice unit used the funds for 140,890 sessions of telephone, e-mail and webchat support up from 107,644 in 2013/14, and 95,084 face-to-face sessions, down from 102,720 last year.

The sum also funded 219,700 debt advice sessions in England and Wales at a cost of £29.4m, this represents a sharp increase in 2013/14’s equivalent of 163,000 sessions at a cost of £27.8m.

MAS is currently constructing its response to an independent review which recommended dramatic reductions in its money advice programme.



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There are 22 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So, to my simple thinking, the money advice unit incurred a £44m cost (including the £1.4m loss) to handle 235,974 calls/meetings/emails/webchats – an average £186 per enquiry. If we assume that most of these interactions lasted somewhat less than an hour MAS is effectively charging £200-300 p/h – for unskilled and unregulated ‘advice’.

  2. So the MAS’s income goes up, it’s losses go up and Caroline Rooker’s salary goes up. How could any organisation other than a public sector quango be allowed to get away with this? Isn’t one of any chief executive’s prime responsibilities to oversee prudent fiscal management of the organisation she heads up? The only thing that hasn’t gone up is the practical value of the MAS itself. Is that a sour joke or what?

  3. Is this a joke?

  4. Nick Pilkington 7th August 2015 at 10:38 am

    MAS like FCA FSCS etc have only one aim & that is to increase their budgets, increase their influence & increase the senior staff pay levels. Although I believe they genuinely think they are acting in the general public’s interest they are in fact acting contrary to it by driving up costs of delivering advice & eliminating availability of genuine advice (rather than guidance) for those on the lower end of the income/asset scale.

  5. Bankrupt on so many levels

  6. Kids Company was effectively closed down for less!

  7. An overhaul of these fee hungry departments is long overdue. I’m seeking Parliamentary assistance and suggest that any IFA sickened by the fee increases – ours from £15k to £36k this year – before we pay the MAS fee by the way – seeks the help of their local MP. At a time when all government departments expect those protected areas such as health etc are being forced to contemplate seismic budget cuts that will reform services in the UK, these departments FCA FSCS MAS etc, look for more money from a community that holds them in scant regard. I urge people to seek the help of their MP. Mine has taking the matter very seriously. Momentum is needed from our community if this is to be changed.

  8. Get rid of this organisations subsidy and make it go to the Treasury for 100% of it’s funding. Then see if they can give pay rises to senior staff. No problem at all with the concept of MAS but make the taxpayer pay for it so that Government hold it to account.

  9. I suppose if the Government gets back the £3m from Kids Co last week, then they could always throw a bit towards the MAS and help pay the salaries there – oops that money got spent on salaries at kids co. Sincerely, the more I read the more disheartened I become.

  10. Opened this just as I got a email alert from the FCA with my invoice (went to collect the bad news)…… I am ….ing livid, with a capital F.

  11. It must be great to have a job where you get paid – just for being there. Not only that, you can get a pay rise even if the organisation makes a loss. Am I the only person who goes hungry if my business incurs a Ioss? I suppose my failing is that I have been too good at what I do. Never made a loss! Never been handed a golden cheerio to get rid of me! Just carried on making profits despite the best efforts of those who regulate our business and the companies who are supposed to be helping us.

  12. Come on all you lads and lasses, resign from you safe jobs in the Civil Service, jump on the Gravy Train and make the most of it while you can!

    Surely common sense has to intervene at some point! Doesn’t it?

    In the meantime, the march of the Trough Feeders continues unabated.

    Utterly disgraceful!

    @ Brian Gannon – Government pay for it? – Don’t hold your breath.

    btw – Is it me, or does Ms Rookes look more that a little smug and self satisfied?

  13. May I be permitted to point out to those less numerate that this lady’s pay equated to 24% of the loss. Outrageous doesn’t even begin to describe this. And the fat cats in Westminster just sit by, and most of you voted for these deadbeats. (I’m glad to say I didn’t even bother to walk down the road to the polling booth – the whole lot of them are a waste of time.

  14. So utterly shameful. The real criminals in financial services are the quangos.

  15. It’s tempting to suggest that the MAS itself could well do with some counselling on debt management. Like its fellow family members the FCA and NEST, it probably couldn’t make a profit from a wine tasting day at a vineyard. Then again, as far as they’re concerned, it’s all just OPM so WGAF?

  16. Please use this link to write to your MP. It’s very quick and efficient. I’ve raised all the issues about the huge increase in all levies that we have seen this year. We need to send an email every time a new cost or silly review is announced.

  17. Agree with all of you, a bunch of rent seekers. I’ve had enough of it. And if we only have 2/3rds of the advisers now, shouldn’t we have a smaller regulator – costing less?????????

  18. Soren Lorenson, thanks for the link, I’ve just emailed my MP using it.

  19. Pay the FCA part of the levy and refuse the MAS element on principal and call their bluff.

  20. on what basis could your SPS be removed or your authorisation?

  21. Hey, it doesn’t matter. If you’re MAS, losses are irrelevant. You just get the financial services community to pony up some more cash to fill the gaps

    I would say ‘Sack that hopeless incompetent Rookes now’ – but what’s the point? She’ll only turn up in a top role at some other quango. Once you reach a certain level, failure carries no penalty – no matter how inept.

    Right – I’m off to swear at the dog now

  22. For the first time in a long time I’ve had a read around the site. Looked at its comments etc. it’s plain that the IFA advisory community has a strong view in two areas. Fees for regulation and the operation of the Ombudsman service. I mentioned earlier in a post that I approached my MP. He has obtained a reply from Harriett Baldwin underlining the FCA commitment to costs review especially the FSCS where we have all suffered huge cost increases that we just have to absorb. This does sound a little like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas however and we can all see that the regulatory bodies are self serving with large salaries and golden handshake arrangements and eye wateringly expensive pensions. Without proper endeavour nothing will change. Everyone motivated enough to read and or comment in these forums needs to press their MP. As an aside though connected by the theme of comments – the FOS. YES. We know they are fairly ineffectual. We doubt the qualifications of staff. I’ve heard that they HATE the IFA community and are motivated to trouble is whenever possible. Hence complaints that should never be heard being lost. The IFA has no recourse in Court whereas a client does. I am meeting with a client. A Judge. I am asking does he consider this imbalance to breach my basic human right to make representations about me, my company etc where a decision sits so wrongly with my file and the evidence within it. Why is my legal system closed to me and a body so empowered so as to fine me without me being able to put my case forward before someone qualified in law? My company has operated since 1997. We have conducted thousands of transactions. None of them exoteric and none of ill fame. I read in fear however of a community that is allowing itself to be rolled out flat and toasted both sides. I’ve met a lot of IFAs over the years. Most are genuine really good people with excellent businesses and are genuinely motivated to be a part of their town, it’s community. They develop life long relationships and span family generations. Their role is vital. I rant. It’s why I promise myself not to peruse these sites but of course occasionally the head lines bite especially when coincidental with fees going up so as to “steal” money from us. Yes. It’s irritating to see the MAS staff get huge salaries for creating and running a toy town web site but unless we explore
    Every proper channel to close down upon this nonsense, then we are screaming into the wind. Start by contacting your MP. TALK to anyone in the legal profession. Explore the human rights angle mentioned above. Let’s start tipping the scales back.

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