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Money Advice Service refuses to reveal expenditure details

The Money Advice Service has refused to answer questions about how much it is spending on redundancy packages, directors’ remuneration and overseas trips for senior management.

Money Marketing submitted questions to MAS chief executive Tony Hobman (pictured) last week but the service has refused to provide detailed answers as it is not yet subject to freedom of information legislation.

The Ministry of Justice says it is in discussions with the MAS to bring it under the FoI Act.

The questions push for details of senior staff remuneration in 2011/12 and the size of redundancy packages being paid to staff.

Earlier this month, Money Marketing revealed that three-quarters of the MAS team of 150 have been put on consultation.

The majority of MAS staff moved across from the FSA’s Consumer Financial Education Body, when it became the MAS in April.

An MAS spokeswoman has confirmed that all staff who moved across from the FSA are entitled to “a comprehensive redundancy” package, as set out in the FSA’s employee handbook. The handbook states the maximum payment allowed is the greater of one year’s salary or £100,000.

The MAS declined to give details of how much the service has paid towards overseas business trips for senior management but confirmed that there have been four trips since April.

The MAS is funded by a statutory industry levy. It has a budget of £43.7m for 2011/12, which includes £13.5m for staff costs.

The service has spent over £2m on the delivery of its online healthcheck and £4m on an advertising campaign.

Money Marketing asked how many consumers who have completed the MAS healthcheck have taken action to improve their financial situation or sought regulated advice.

The spokeswoman says the healthcheck has had 280,000 visits since it launched in June but refuses to disclose the outcome of the visits.

Technology and Technical founder and director Kim North says: “Any public authority with such a huge industry-funded budget must be open about how it spends its money.”

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Comments

There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Freedom of Information Act? The salries and redundancy payments have, and are being made from tax payers monies. The public has a right to know, unless there are things that MAS wish to hide, but that wouldn’t be the case, would it?

  2. Can these people actually get any more dodgy? The UK appears to have become some form of Banana Republic without the sunshine. Disgraceful.

  3. It’s quite sickening that when the IFA world is being lumbered with the RDR and all its so called transparency, this crowed cannot be held to task on what they are paid and redundancy packages. Something is far wrong.
    Jobs for the boys

  4. And exactly who is paying for all of this?

  5. Divide £13 million by 150 and you get £87,000.

    Nice salary if you can get it!

  6. Doesn’t all this just want to make you scream (weep really) as it just shows that everthing the regualtor does has been designed on the back of a fag packet. Nothing is ever done properly or thought through. But them again, they ain’t paying for all the cock ups are they so why should it matter to them.

  7. We are frequently lambasted and warned to deal with the regulator in an open and honest manner but it is abundantly clear that this requirement only applies to advisers.

    Even though it is industry money that is being tossed aroiund and almost certainly wasted due to bureaucratic ineptitude.

  8. This beggars belief! MAS has only been in existence for a very short while. Why were these people employed in the first place and then made redundant? It nearly tasts of corruption.

  9. This country has been corrupt for years. Only recently are people starting to realise it. The Financial institutions, regulators, multinationals and politicians have it all sewn up. We, however, are well and truly stitched up.

  10. Where’s your sympathy guys? I was watching some chap on the TV the other day who was acting as an apologist for the bankers and high earners in the City. Apparently they need their massive salaries because the poor things are ‘caught in the wealth trap’! As their outgoings are so high they are actually quite poor and have little disposabe income. Looking at it like this, the figures we are looking at here are quite miserly. It almost feels like we ought to put our hands in our pockets and drop the odd tenner into a tin cup for them.

    Maybe they don’t want to disclose the figures because they will seem so paltry next to others in the City that they will be laughed at when they frequent their club!

    I’m not sure what is going on here but they deserve som echarity, after all, it is nearly Christmas.

  11. First and foremost, well done to Money Marketing for highlighting this abuse.

    I suggest that financial advisers up and down the country immediately write to their local MP and INSIST that MAS comes under the same FoI rules as other government departments.

    Personally, I have lost all trust and confidence in all politicians from all major political parties. What they say when they are in opposition and then what they actually do when they are in government are two completely different things. I recall Cameron trying to win the IFA vote by saying he would scrap the FSA – what has he done about them since being elected? SOD ALL.

    All senior politicians and civil servants are simply pigs with their snouts in the trough

  12. They confirm – “overseas business trips for senior management but confirmed that there have been four trips since April.”

    Why the hell would you need ANY overseas trips?

    And “all staff who moved across from the FSA are entitled to “a comprehensive redundancy” package, as set out in the FSA’s employee handbook.”

    When a Business, or indeed a Government Dept or Local Authority sells, privatises or contracts out a business,a service or a function, service is deemed to be continuous, and thus no redundency payable,

    Why could this not be the case here? Stupid, self serving, inadequate and incompetent Management? Yes, I thought so.

    These buffoons and gravy train riders have got to be sanctioned and somehow, this criminal waste brought under control.

  13. @ Paul

    “The salries and redundancy payments have, and are being made from tax payers monies.”

    No they’re not!!

    Are you an IFA?

    We the industry (including of course banks etc) are paying for all of this rubbish. That’s why it’s a bloody insult to call it ‘free’.

    @ John Hutton – “And exactly who is paying for all of this?”

    As I’m sure you know, if you’re an IFA, you and I are paying, and of course indirectly, through our charges, clients are paying for all of this stupidity, greed and waste.

  14. “refused to answer” and who is paying for this fiasco?
    The arrogance and attitude of these people living off the hard earned commissions and fees paid to IFA’s from our clients.

  15. Sadly, what you have to appreciate is that, no matter what walk of life you care to look at, you will find that “absolute power corrupts ultimately”.

  16. So the FSA enjoys statutory immunity from prosecution and the MAS enjoys statutory immunity from having to comply with the FOI Act. WHY!!?? The unelected personnel who staff the FSA are less accountable than elected MP’s, who, at the very least, are subject to the strictures of the Parliamentary Standards Committee. That’s not right, surely?

    And all these people now being redundant ~ weren’t most of them recruited internally (the MAS being a subsidiary of the FSA)? Why can’t they just be reassigned to their former duties with the FSA?

    The redundancy formula set out in the FSA handbook is (so I read elsewhere) the greater (not lesser) of a year’s salary or £100,000. So, 150 redundancies will mean a minimum pay out of £15,000,000. That’s £15m of industry money.

    Given that such an outlay is coming mere months after the MAS was set up (or rather that the MGS was hived off from the FSA as a separate sub-division and renamed), doesn’t this rather strongly suggest reckless mismanagement of the FSA’s resources? Of course it does but, as always, it’s all just OPM, so who at Canary Wharf gives a tinker’s cuss?

    Yet another example, were any needed, of the FSA’s wilful disregard for the Statutory Code of Practice For Regulators ~ or does it enjoy statutory exemption from that as well?

    Are there absolutely no bounds to the unaccountable licence enjoyed by this money-guzzling and endlessly power-hungry leviathan?

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