The Money Advice Service has launched its free online health check service and is about to launch a £4m nationwide advertising campaign to raise awareness of the service among consumers.
The MAS, which was formerly the Consumer Financial Education Body, launched in April and is funded by a statutory industry levy.
It has today launched its free health check service, which acts as an online financial planner and links to other MAS services such as budget calculators and comparison tables.
Consumers are asked a series of short questions such as attitudes to regular saving and how they would cope with an unexpected increase in living costs.
The service then provides a personalised action plan to encourage consumers to ensure they can cope with a change in circumstances and that they have the right financial provisions in place for them, such as saving for a mortgage, insurance, or retirement plans.
The MAS says consumers will be signposted to IFAs and other services where appropriate.
The MAS chief executive Tony Hobman (pictured) says: “We are never going to recommend a specific product to someone because we are giving unregulated advice. What we will do is talk generically about types of advice, which will link through to things like comparison tables, but not in a way that recommends one specific product.”
The MAS is targeting 500,000 users of the online health check by the end of March.
It is also launching a nationwide awareness campaign, with the first television advert to air tomorrow evening.
Money Marketing revealed last week that the MAS is spending over £2m on the delivery of its online health check service out of its total £43.7m budget for 2011/12.
A further £13m will be spent on staff and associated costs, and £9.7m on the delivery of face-to-face, phone and print advice.