The Money Advice Service has ruled out setting a target to boost adviser referrals, saying it should not force higher numbers of referrals if that is not what customers need.
Of a total of 1.1 million website users between April 2011 and March 2012, the MAS referred around 3,000 people to regulated financial advisers, or 0.3 per cent.
Following the publication of MAS’ final budget for 2013/14 last week, Money Marketing asked MAS service delivery and marketing communications director Karen Broughton what the service plans to do to improve its referral rate.
Broughton 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 an 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 customer need, it is not driven by us saying we need to send a certain number of people to advisers.
“We want to make sure we have got all the right touch points as part of our process but I do not think we should force through higher numbers if that is not what customers need.”
The MAS has set its final budget at £78.3m for 2013/14, compared to £80.8m in 2012/13. Some £43.8m will be spent on money advice and £34.5m will be spent on debt advice.
Facts & Figures Financial Planners managing director Simon Webster says: “The MAS costs the industry an obscene amount of money. I doubt its advice stands up to the quality of advice from professional financial advisers.”