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Money Advice Service faces struggle to hit targets

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service looks unlikely to meet its 2012/13 targets after figures showed 1.23m consumers used the service between April and December against a full financial year target of 1.9m.

Data published by the MAS this week shows the majority of consumers used MAS’ website and online tools, with 1,087,000 online users. A further 70,000 consumers used MAS for face-to-face advice, with 64,000 using the service for telephone advice and 6,000 using its webchat service.

The MAS does not have comparative data for the nine months to December 2011. For the full 2011/12 year, the MAS had 1.3m customers, of which 74,000 were given face-to-face advice, 84,000 received telephone advice and 1.14m accessed the service online.

For the full 2012/13 year, the MAS is targeting 1.9m total customers, 88,000 users of its face-to-face advice service, and a combined target for its telephone and webchat service of 90,000.

It also wants to generate one million action plans for customers, which are produced via MAS’s online health check, other online tools and through face-to-face advice sessions. It has currently generated 495,000 action plans.

Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “I am not convinced a generic information service can succeed in inspiring the mass market to take action on their finances.”

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  1. The only datum by which the worth of the MAS can be judged is not how many people “use” the service but how many take definite action in the wake of having done so. Its site could well receive 10m hits but if only 100 people actually embark on a properly structured plan to improve their long term financial health then the Benefits:Cost ratio simply doesn’t stack up, does it? To pretend otherwise is completely disingenuous.

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