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MAS sets out spending plans for £46.3m advice budget

The Money Advice Service has outlined its “spending priorities” for 2012/13 and has confirmed it plans to spend almost half of its £46.3m annual advice budget on marketing and brand awareness.

The MAS has published its 2012/13 business plan today, which confirms its total budget has gone from £43.7m for 2011/12 to  £80.8m for 2012/13.

Out of the total, £46.3m will be spent on delivering “money advice” while the remaining £34.5m will spent on debt advice, reflecting the Government’s decision to move responsibility for debt advice to the MAS.

The financial services industry as a whole pays for the MAS’ financial capability remit through FSA levies, while the debt advice element is funded by an FSA levy only on banks, building societies and lenders.

Within the £46.3m money advice budget,  just over £20m will be spent on marketing and brand awareness, as first revealed by Money Marketing in December.

The marketing spend will include TV, radio, online advertising, and email marketing.

The MAS plans to spend approximately £7m on staff, £6.6m on delivering face-to-face and telephone services, and approximately £2m on digital products. A further £6.7m will be spent on web and digital build costs.

Operational costs including rent and IT are estimated to be £2.8m, with £979,000 spent on research.

The MAS is aiming to reach 11.3m people a year by 2016/17. It says its “three year forward plan” includes an expectation that the MAS’ financial requirements “will be broadly level for the following two years while the number of customers using our service grows rapidly”.

MAS chief executive Tony Hobman (pictured) says: “This summer we will introduce a transformed generic advice service built on applying everything we have learned about people’s attitudes to money and the common triggers that motivate us into action.

“This transformed service will make money advice much more readily available with much greater impact on action.”

Ahead of the publication of the MAS business plan, Money Marketing revealed the Treasury select sub-committee is to launch an inquiry into the MAS’ effectiveness and the salaries of its senior management.

It follows concerns raised by the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee over Hobman’s £350,000 pay package.

One in three people who have taken the MAS online healthcheck did not remember doing so, with MAS research suggesting the healthcheck is not significantly changing consumers’ behaviour.


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There are 17 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. A MILLION POUNDS on research ? How easy it is, to spend other people’s money.
    (What is the exact definition of a parasite ?)

  2. From their own research, they have proven that they cannot change the way customers source or review finacial products. So why are they going to waste another £46M of our money.

  3. Well well well

    As some-one put it the other day all these levys and cost are “soul destroying”

    This one for me is a very strongly aimed kick between the legs.

  4. Financial advice
    Debt advice
    Brand Awareness
    Is there anything else they would like us to pay for?
    We are a small business and have had to rein in costs for this financial year. Just as well because what we have managed to economise on will be eaten up by the Fat Cat Quangocrats.

  5. Dan Hannan in today’s Telegraph quotes Bastiat, ‘When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in time, a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it’. Mr Hannan is writing about Brussels but it seems apt here as well.

  6. Most apt Peter.

    Tony Hobman looks so pleased with himself in the picture, as well he might having managed to get the FSA to pay him £350k for something that most people with common sense could do, and would do for much much less.

  7. The MAS in principle is a good idea – I’m all for guidance and education – For the millions going into this you’d expect a stellar offering….

  8. I fell for it hook line and sinker, until I saw the date, this should have been published yesterday.
    Well done Money Marketing on an excellent April fool. This cant possibility be serious.

  9. I think we should call in the Fraud Squad.
    This is theft of the worst kind.
    Who are they kidding?
    If this had not had the MAS as the perpetrator we would be seeing these people on trial for fraud.
    They have stolen our money and are now pretending to spend it on something good!!
    How many scams do we see each week that are exactly like this?
    Somehow we have to put a stop to this right now.
    Who can we call for help?
    Thoughts on a postage stamp(if you can afford one)

  10. Best form of defence is attack. Well done Tony Hobman, with MP`s asking for answers to awkward questions over costs and mega salaries out he comes with a big smile and an audacious spending menu. Brilliant, Blair is back!!

  11. After lots of soul searching I have recently decided to stop voting Conservative.

    Why because the Conservatives have become more Labour than Labour. They continue to allow hard earned taxes to be spent on useless projects such as MAS.

    How many University places could £80 million fund?

    How many Long term care patients could £80 million fund?

    £80 million could have funded both Aircraft Carriers and retained the Harrier fleet.

    I could go on there are dozens of better ways to spend £80 million

  12. Here I present the biggest load of codswallop ever-
    “This summer we will introduce a transformed generic advice service built on applying everything we have learned about people’s attitudes to money and the common triggers that motivate us into action.

    “This transformed service will make money advice much more readily available with much greater impact on action.”

    £350,000 for this load of waffle!
    Cameron,if you are out there somewhere(USA with your ‘pal’) please stop for a moment and reflect on what is going on around you.
    We need your help,that’s why you are in power because of ‘us’.

  13. I know the MAS is there for a purpose, even if it seems to be failing to do anything but spend its budget.
    I can’t help thinking though, that some of their customers would be far better off if the £80m was used to simply repay their credit card and personal loan debts and instead provide no advice (apart from don’t spend what you don’t haver).
    How incredible would that be for those in terrible trouble financially?
    if nothing else I like to think they’d then remember the experience!

  14. I still consider it to be manifestly unjust that the FS industry is being forced to fund advice on a social problem, namely personal debt, that’s not of our making. Furthermore, a whole range of free debt advice organisations may easily be found simply by doing a quick Google search. Will these all be quietly starved of funding and extinguished one by one?

    The MAS won’t be directing people with debt problems to an IFA, for the simple reason that they have no money either to invest for the future or to spend on protecting their families.

    What advice is the MAS able to give these people other than firstly to stop spending money they don’t have and secondly to consolidate as many of their debts as possible into a single package with an affordable monthly payments plan? Or perhaps to sell their home and move to a less expensive one? Does this really justify taking £34.5m off an industry that’s geared principally towards protecting and accumulating wealth for the future?

    Most of us, I suggest, would consider that it does not. We don’t advise people to spend money they don’t have on things that they can’t afford. How about regulating unsecured lending by way of credit and store cards? Is it not a crazy state of affairs that it’s easier to run up £100,000 of unsecured credit card debt than it is to obtain a secured mortgage of similar size?

    Yet the MAS was launched without either consultation or any sort of Cost:Benefit Analysis. It just sounded like a good idea to some group of armchair theorists somewhere within the corridors of power and it won’t cost the Central Exchequer anything so, hey, let’s go for it. It’s just more and more of the OPM syndrome with which our lives these days have become so blighted.

  15. Ah, Bisto

    The train just keeps on rolling


  16. Hi Julian

    I totally agree with you!

    We seriously need to stop this and come up with some coordinated campaign as it looks like IFA’s are signing our own death warrants.

    This is one tax to far and I wish somebody in the halls of power would listen and force this service to change its name or close down altogether.

    It still does not provide ADVICE it only provides information and some guidance.

  17. Green Eyed Monster 3rd April 2012 at 11:50 am

    You are right Peter, but the Advertising Standards Authority decided MAS was not misleading to the public therefore they could continue to use the word advice.

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