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Money Advice Service looks to partner with banks to bridge advice gap

Caroline Rookes MAS Money Advice Service
MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes

The Money Advice Service is looking to grow its partnerships with banks to bridge the advice gap created by recent high profile exits from mass market advice.

Speaking to Money Marketing this week, MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says she is keen to expand the service’s reach, and 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: “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 work collaboratively to provide as much help as we can.”

Rookes says the MAS’s existing bank partnerships include a recent tie-up with Barclays on Isa information and work with Royal Bank of Scotland on financial education.

She says: “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 organisation’s annual results, published this week, show over two 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 and exceeding its target of 1.9 million users.

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “Banks have the highest level of complaints and have clearly proven they are not capable of giving large-scale financial advice. Surely the MAS should be promoting advisers instead.”

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