The Money Advice Service is looking to grow its partnerships with banks to bridge the advice gap created by the latest high profile exits from mass market advice.
Speaking to Money Marketing, MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes said she was keen to expand the service’s reach through the charitable and public sectors, and through the private sector via the banks.
She says that in a year’s time she would like to have “gone even further to have established the MAS as a household name and as a source of unbiased, free advice”.
Rookes says: “The sort of advice the banks have moved out of is paid-for advice. I would hope we could go as far as we can in non-regulated advice and refer people where they need it on to those advisers that provide regulated advice.
“Certainly one of my objectives is to work more closely with the advice sector to see what we can do to address any gaps that exist.
”At the end of the day we have to bear in mind we cannot offer regulated advice, so there is that boundary between what we can do and these organisations can do, but we can look to go as far towards the boundary as possible without breaching that, and working collaboratively to provide as much help as we can.”
Rookes says the MAS already has partnerships with the banks, including a recent partnership with Barclays on Isa information, and work with Royal Bank of Scotland on financial education.
She adds: “We do work with the banks and we will look to work as closely as we can. Everyone shares the same objective that people understand more about their financial affairs and can manage them. It is in everybody’s interests to deliver that. The banks are an obvious partnership for us.”
The MAS revealed today over 2 million people used the service in the year to the end of March, up 62 per cent from 1.3 million MAS users in 2011/12. MAS had an annual target of reaching 1.9 million users for 2012/13.
Between April 2012 and March 2013, the MAS delivered 100,000 face to face “advice” sessions, and dealt with 81,000 users through its telephone service and 15,000 users through its webchat service.
This was against an annual target of 88,000 face to face advice sessions, and a combined target of 90,000 for telephone and webchat users.
The MAS also delivered 1.2m action plans, against an annual target of 1 million.