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Money Advice Service launches free online health check

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.


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Richard Brydon 8th June 2011 at 1:46 pm

    STOP! I can’t afford it. I’m still paying for my exams.

    Come back when I’ve passed them all and I’m earning shed loads of money with new clients banging on my door seeking advice.

    Well, that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t know if it’s true though.

  2. I just spent 5 minutes taking the test. It said I should make plans in case I die, even though I entered that my Will is up to date. The rest of it was pretty silly, especially to say how much it’s costing our industry. Clearly whoever is responsible for it has a degree in the “John Cleese” obvious.

    I shan’t be publicising it to my clients.

  3. Julian Stevens 8th June 2011 at 10:59 pm


    1. Is this £4m of expenditure on top of or out of the MAS’ first year budget of £43m?

    2. What form will the advertising take?

    3. Will any record be compiled of just how many people take action in the wake of having visited the site and taken the online test?

    4. Will there be any facility for IFA’s to report to the MAS any enquiries they receive as a result of the service?

    5. Or is it just another of those ideas that sounds like it might encourage a few more people to seek financial planning advice, so let’s throw a few million quid (of other peoples’ money) at it?

    6. Who designed the test?

    7. Was input on its design sought from the IFA sector (who, after all, are the people paying for it)?

    8. Was that input actually incorporated into the test?

    9. Was there any prior consultation?

    10. Would it have made any difference if there had been?

    And so on and so on………

  4. Its isn’t free.

    It is paid for by the industry which means that the costs are passed onto those who purchase financial products or pay for advice.

  5. Two million quid for something that looks like an exercise in an introduction to Visual Basic. I’m not being sneery. A program that asks “Do you have insurance?” and outputs “You should get insurance” is exactly what they used to give us to teach us programming when I was 16.

    Of course, if I’d made it when I was 16 I wouldn’t have used phrases like ‘do a budget’, as if it was a dance or a sex act.

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