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MAS referred 0.3% of web visitors to advisers

The Money Advice Service referred less than 1 per cent of consumers who visited its website in 2011/12 to a financial adviser.

The MAS’s first annual review, published yesterday, outlines how it is delivering on its key areas of money advice, co-ordinating debt advice and financial education.

Based on a total of 1.1 million website users, the MAS referred around 3,000 people to regulated financial advisers between April 2011 and the end of March 2012, equivalent to 0.3 per cent of all website users.

The MAS’ online health check, which asks consumers basic questions about their attitude to money and provides them with an action plan based on their answers, received 521,668 visits. Of the total visits to the health check just over half, or 302,567 consumers, took away a personal action plan.

The MAS says it is continuing to work with IFAs to develop its service.

The MAS says: “In developing our services we have worked closely with experienced IFAs to contribute to our money advice on, for example, divorce and separation, and to quality assure our online health check. We continue to draw on such expetise.”

The MAS says it is also aware of some IFAs using the health check as part of their own service, by asking prosepective clients to carry out the health check before meeting them for the first time or before an annual review.

Writing for Money Marketing last month, MAS chairman Gerard Lemos (pictured) said he was frustrated that advisers continue to misunderstand MAS’ work.

The service delivered 74,000 face-to-face advice sessions during the year. It says 36 per cent, or 26,640 of those who received face-to-face advice took action based on the information received.

It says of the 84,000 calls handled by the MAS, 49 per cent, or 41,160 took action based on the information received.

An MAS spokeswoman says: “We launched our new, more action-focused website in July, ensuring our advice and tools effectively signpost to other sources of help to support people to take the next steps to manage their money better. Our articles continue to link to IFA portals when appropriate and helpful. We also know that IFAs are the largest users of our annuity tables.

“We expect the number of people we refer to IFA portals to increase substantially as we ramp up the reach of our service to help 1.9m people this year, 5.3m users next year, and more than 11m users by 2016/17.”

The MAS is funded by a statutory industry levy, which went from £43.7m in 2011/12 to £86.8m for 2012/13 to reflect the MAS’ new responsibility for co-ordinating debt advice. The money advice budget, which advisers contribute to, accounts for £46.3m of the total budget.

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Comments

There are 19 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I think the goverment would be wiser to help fund existing directories that are already providing a free service to clients to help them better understand the financial services, such as http://www.adviserindex.co.uk that not only provides free money forums and help guides but also allows visitors to examine and compare local advisers

  2. Did you know that MAS pay for pay per click advertisng on Google? I wonder how much it cost you and I?

  3. So where did all those potential clients end up?
    I think we need a more formal investigation as to where they were referred and who gained from it.
    Alternatively what is the point of MAS if they did nothing with them.
    It is the IFAs who are funding the MAS.
    What a complete load of charlatans!!

  4. odd that such a small number of people need proper financiial planning advice… A similar number to the one the FSA use for those seeking UCIS advice…It would appear that this is either a brilliant screening tool for advisers, the equivalent of the Russian Doll principle or otherwise its a rather pointless exercise with incredibly low numbers taking action… Talk is cheap… Unless you are the MAS where it is “free” well if you have a few £million anyhow.

  5. didn’t send any my way………..can i have my money back please??????

  6. Exactly what sort of ‘money advice’ did they think they are giving ? Are we to believe that only 0.3% of visitors requred advice ? If so why were they visiting the website ? Another ‘not fit for purpose’ initiative like the FSA.

  7. As this is funded by IFA’s it’s fair to ask what we get in return for our money. With a budget of £87,000,000 a return of 3,000 referrals is pathetic.

    Each referral costs £29,000.

    £29,0000!!!

    This is a shocking waste of what Julian Stevens would term OPM.

  8. MAS quotes figures that are basically unchallenged.
    PROVE it is my message to Lemos and gang.
    How do they count and what evidence is there?
    It is our money so lets see if they are prepared to give us the true facts.
    74,000 face to face advice sessions?(over 26,000 people took action)
    84,000 calls with 49% taking action(over 40,000 clients)-what action did they take and how does MAS know this?
    lets see what the truth is.

  9. Alistair Paterson 15th August 2012 at 1:25 pm

    My objections to the MAS would be lessened if it were a publicly funded agency.

    However, I am paying for a service that is effectively competing with me and does not enhance my business through referrals into the IFA sector, as can be plainly seen by the figures released.

    It really is becoming tiresome constantly dolling out money to fund quango after quango whilst enjoying little or no benefit.

  10. They had links to specific mortgage firms on their site, removed them due to other brokers’ complaints, but are still linking to companies like Lovemoney, London & Country and unbiased.co.uk.

    All very dodgy if they are promoting competitors at my expense.

    Can I have my money back as well please?

  11. As a consumer I downloaded the MAS action plan – don’t think I have ever read the thing properly, long winded, generic, not very helpful. Common sense stuff – i.e. pay off existing debt! Well I never would have considered that!

  12. And this is a surprise…?

  13. “We also know that IFAs are the largest users of our annuity tables”
    Big Brother is watching you.
    I took the “Health check” out of interest. MAS have no way of knowing if I took any action based on this check.

  14. Usual waste of money, usual smoke and mirrors regards consumer benefit, usual crap outcome.

    If it is just the sake of taking us for as much money as they can get MAS/FSA you are winning the battle

  15. I would suspenct the vast number of people who visited MAS had significant debts, no savings and <20K pension. They hold no value to an IFA and require some simple financial advice on reducing outgoings paying off debts and putting a little aside for emergencies.

  16. can I have my money back please?

  17. I took the health check, input my particular circumstances – it completely ignored all the information that I put in and simply gave me generic information. What a waste of time!!!

  18. Pay Per Click Services 16th August 2012 at 10:35 am

    Thank you
    The information you shared is very informative Pay per Click Services

  19. So, a lower ROI than an old fashioned mailshot.. Brilliant, they must be so pleased with themselves…..give yourself a bonus……..

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