MAS to do yet more gap filling research ahead of break-up

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The Money Advice Service has outlined how it intends to work with Government and the regulator to tackle guidance gaps once it is split into two separate bodies in 2018.

According to its 2016/17 business plan, the MAS, the Treasury and the FCA are to research what the MAS provided through its channels – including its website, telephone service, and print – as well as any guidance needs not currently met by those in the market.

As part of this work, the three organisations will look at the role smartphone apps could play in money guidance.

The Government announced in this year’s Budget the MAS will be axed as part of a restructure of financial guidance that will see the creation of two bodies responsible for pensions and money support, respectively.

The business plan confirms the new money advice body will not have direct channels to deliver services and will not have a consumer brand. As such, it is seeking partners to take over some of its tools and content.

The MAS also confirmed it would close its face-to-face advice service in October 2016 as proposed in the consultation paper preceding the business plan.

The business plan confirmed the 2016/17 budget that was outlined in the consultation including that the overall budget will reduce by 7.5 per cent to £75m.

The money advice budget has dropped by £4.1m to £30m, achieved through the MAS halting its marketing spend in that area, withdrawing from face-to-face advice money guidance and a 20 per cent reduction in digital and support services costs.

MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says:
 “We have taken action to cease all marketing and brand building activity immediately.

“We have also shifted investment away from the long-term development of our website meaning that we can increase funding into the front line by distributing an additional four million to ‘what works’ initiatives delivered through voluntary partners.”