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Money Advice Service rules out target for adviser referrals

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service has ruled out setting a target to boost the number of referrals it makes to advisers, saying it should not force higher referrals if that is not what customers need.

The MAS referred around 3,000 people to regulated financial advisers between April 2011 and March 2012, according to the latest figures available.

Based on a total of 1.1 million website users, this equates to 0.3 per cent who were referred to advisers over the period.

Speaking to Money Marketing today following the publication of MAS’ final annual budget, MAS executive director Karen Broughton said the organisation will look to strengthen adviser referrals but argued setting a target to boost referrals is not appropriate.

Asked whether the MAS is planning to improve its adviser referral rate, Broughton, who acts as MAS director of service delivery and marketing communications, said: “Will we set an absolute target around that? No. The most important thing for us is in the customer journey when they come for advice, where and when it is appropriate to refer people to adviser we absolutely will. We have been challenged in the past about how many IFA referrals we will make in a year. Our response to that is it is driven by the customer need, it is not driven by us saying we need to send a certain number of people to advisers.”

She disagreed that 0.3 per cent is a low referral rate, adding: “It is back to this point about what is appropriate. We want to make sure we have got all the right touch points as part of our process as much as possible, but I do not think we should force through higher numbers if that is not what customers need.”

The MAS has announced today it has set its final budget for 2013/14 at £78.3m, compared to £80.8m in 2012/13. Of the 2013/14 budget, £43.8m will be spent on money advice and £34.5m will be spent on debt advice.

The organisation says its focus over the next year is to encourage people to take action on their finances, and has prioritised younger adults and lower income families.

It is targeting 480,000 “specific outcomes” for 2013/14 across five key areas of regular saving, retirement saving, providing for dependants, protecting assets, and managing debt. It is also targeting a further 400,000 budget planners to be completed in the next financial year to reinforce the importance of regular budgeting and money reviews.

Out of its £43.8m money advice budget the MAS will spend £12.5m on marketing and over £9m on staff costs. It will spend a further £7.8m on delivering its face-to-face, telephone and online advice service.


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. It is like paying for the bullet they use to shoot you.

  2. Stephen Rowland 27th March 2013 at 2:22 pm

    How about if they don’t do a certain amount of referrals (after all we are paying for it!) they don’t get ANY IFA funding!

    That should do the trick!!!

  3. I agree that referrals for the sake of hitting a target figure is bad practice but 0.3%…..come on. Are we saying that 99.7% of users left the site very happy with the “advice” that MAS gave them and now look forward to a financially prosperous future ?????

  4. We need to make our minds up, do we really want the types of clients using the MAS?

    I keep on hearing and reading that IFAs cannot afford to service / deal with lower net worth clients or clients won’t pay our fees so why make a song and dance when they go to the MAS?

    The MAS will provide a service to a very large number of people who do not use IFAs or as I said above IFAs do not want. So why keep moaning about that?

    I know how the MAS is funded is a sore point (very sore!) but we in the financial services industry only have ourselves to blame for the RDR and MAS.

  5. More business doesn’t mean good business. We don’t advertise nor have a high street presence for a reason. I blog a lot so both potential clients and other advusers who DO their homework can decide if they like how I think BEFORE contacting me. The last thing I want is random people contacting me as a result of speaking to MES!

  6. I use MES in reverse. Their guides to give to people to save ME time and to point people who don’t want or cannot pay for advice to.

  7. Interesting terminology being used and financial details:

    Customer – A customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a good, service, product, or idea, obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier for a monetary or other valuable consideration.


    Still around 50% of the budget being spent on advertising and staff. This is a self fulfilling prophecising body that could do with some independent financial advice. I’ll provide if they’ll pay because advice isn’t free.

  8. Adrian Phillips is right, if they are inclined to use the MAS, they really do not want to pay for professional financial planning, I for one will do everything possible not to get involved with MAS referrals as it will be time consuming and very unrewarding.

    Much better to get referrals from clients who use and trust our advice and servies.

    Just remind me, why do advisers have to have part of their fees used to suppor this service, which would be better utilised funding the CAB properly then every adviser could build up a relationship with their local CAB offices to assist those in need, albeit pro bono for most of them.

  9. Am I alone in believing the RDR was about a client getting what they pay for and not having that money spent on other things not related to the service they were buying?

    That being so could somebody please explain to me exactly where the money advisers pass to the MAS actually comes from?

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