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MAS review launched under Christine Farnish

The Treasury has announced the launch of an independent review into the Money Advice Service, to be led by Christine Farnish.

Plans for the review were first revealed in March. Farnish will report to economic secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom by the end of 2014.

Previously chief executive at the National Association of Pensions Funds and consumer director at the FSA, she has pledged to take a “thorough look” at the MAS. 

The review will asses the effectiveness of the MAS and recommend any changes it sees as necessary.

Farnish adds: “An independent review of the Money Advice Service is timely in view of the considerable public interest and debate around the service, the new regulatory framework and the government’s recent announcement on pensions. I will be taking a thorough look at MAS, including what it does and how effective it has been in meeting consumer need to date, and I will recommend any changes that would better enable it to meet this need.”

Leadsom says: “I am delighted to announce that Christine Farnish has agreed to lead the independent review of the Money Advice Service. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and understanding of consumer needs, along with experience in industry and a strong operational track record.

“A key part of the government’s long term economic plan is ensuring consumers have access to high-quality financial education and advice.”

MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says: “We’re looking forward to working with Christine Farnish on the independent review into the Money Advice Service, commissioned by the Treasury today. We’re pleased that the starting point for the review is that the Money Advice Service has a very important job to do, and we’re confident that it will highlight what the Service does every week to help hundreds of thousands of customers through high-quality, free and impartial money advice and the debt advice projects we fund.

“The National Audit Office recently found that the Service was delivering value for money on debt advice and moving in the right direction on money advice. The review provides a great opportunity to build on this, further improve what we do, and help more people manage their money better.”


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. First outcome of this “review” should be the conclusion that the Treasury should be the source of the MAS budget not by a levy on the financial services sector. I won’t be holding my breath though.

  2. Translation of Caroline Rookes’ statement.

    I’m top bitch in these parts. keep your hands off my empire.

    Oh and by the way Christine, old girl., your service ain’t free – we pay for it. And you don’t provide advice as your people are not qualified to do so – you dispense….. what?? Guidance? Fluff? Platitudes?

  3. Philip Castle 30th May 2014 at 5:55 pm

    This isn’t a criticism of Ms Farnish as I know nothing about her other than she is ex FSA. My point is it appears to be musical chairs with the Money Advice Service formerly being Money Made Clear and before that just a section of the FSA itself.
    Dr Debbie Harrison is probably as credible as Ms Farnish and yet the former wrote her glowing report on Keydata Life Settlement Plans prior to the collapse of their products at great cost to the consumer and FS industry and since then she has been appointed to the FCA Consumer Panel (which is an untenable position until a Keydata legal case is seen to proceed to court).
    I am in no way implying any impropriety, and just as the FSAs own research showed there was no widespread evidence of commission bias, I would suggest that appointing Ms Farnish is as wrong as allowing the continuation of commission on investment and pension business.
    Nick & Martin Bamford and I do nto always see eye to eye (nor do I with Harry Katz or anyone else), but I still value their opinions even when disagreeing and I would view any of them as MORE appropriate than a political placement.

  4. Ah Ed I see you didn’t fancy my original post on this. Perhaps you may find this more acceptable:

    Translation of Caroline Rookes’ statement:

    Hands off Christine I’m head girl here.

    Oh and for the sake of accuracy Caroline – your service is not free – we pay for it. Nor do you provide advice. Your people are not level 4. What you do provide is……Guidance? Platitudes? Fluff?

    And really – do you provide this for hundreds of thousands every week? I didn’t realise you had such a big staff! Or is that just an error of syntax?

  5. Exasperated Me 30th May 2014 at 10:50 pm

    MAS debating

  6. Derek Bradley ceo Panacea Adviser 31st May 2014 at 3:36 pm

    This seems a VERY ‘cosy’ appointment. A previous FSA director should go nowhere near this review, especially this one. I can only assume the enquiry will focus on ensuring a glowing report is the ‘outcome’.

  7. The persistent and understandable criticism of the Regulator/Treasury/Government ménage à trois is that the very people who should be strapped down and kept miles away from the ‘review’ are the ones chosen to oversee the matter.

    Is this any different to an Ombudsman assessing an appeal against an adjudicators decision or a police internal affairs body examining a complaint against a detective?

    Altogether too convenient and, like most political reviews, one where the outcome is pretty much known in advance.

  8. The Government website “You Gov”, compared to all theses quangos and political appointees where they make sure it is the “Not US Guv”

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