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Online comments from last week

”MAS chairman Gerard Lemos says: “This campaign is designed to shake people out of their money slumber and prompt them to manage their finances well”

How does this comment sit with the fact that an organisation which is funded by a quasi tax has been roundly criticised by a Parliamentary committee but spends about 40 per cent of its ill-gotten gains on marketing.

Maybe Mr Lemos ought to book himself in to one of the pro-bono clinics that IFAs run at CABs for an insight into how to “manage finances well”

Duncan Carter

When will MAS learn to work with the industry instead of against it? RDR is meant to promote the fact that no advice is free and the same is true of MAS as it may be set up by the Government but it is funded by the financial services Industry.

Surely if we are to move things on in financial services, we need to promote the RDR process and use MAS as a way of educating clients through information but promoting IFA services.

If this is not done, then all that is going to happen is effectively I am paying my FSA fees to fund MAS to put me out of business as who would pay for advice when they can get it for free.

This advert is a little better than the old ones but it still does not support the industry that pays for this service. I also think that TV campaigns like this are a huge waste of money as they should concentrate more on the content of their service.

Peter Herd

I’m speechless. The concept is dreadful and the execution is nothing short of appalling.

Paul Wynne

A fundamental problem with the MAS is that what it purports to offer is a lie. As very few, if any, of its staff are qualified, it cannot by law offer advice in the proper sense of the word. Furthermore, its services arenot free,they are funded by those who are qualified to give advice.

Julian Stevens

Won’t people be disappointed when they contact the MAS. These will be real people with real problems and requirements who are looking for direct and positive answers from a face to face situation – not from a computer screen and certainly not a generic hand off – which they won’t understand anyway. I thought that is why we had to gain higher qualifications.

Moreover, the adverts give out precisely the wrong message that the RDR was formulated to correct – advice is not free. It never has been and never will be.

Harry Katz

Online comment related to article: Nic Cicutti: No time to be muddling through

One of the fundamental truths, one which the FSA seems blissfully unaware of, is that the majority of advisers’ clients do not want an overhaul of their financial position. They do not want to provide intimate details of their finances and they do not want to spend hours finding and providing such information.

The vast majority of consumers have specific issues that need addressing. It might be a mortgage, a pension or some form of protection.

Therefore, the revised meaning of independent will not impact on them. After 27 years as an IFA, I will be relinquishing this once august status and will be consigned to the sector marked ‘restricted’.

Will I be an IFA? No. Will I be whole of market? Yes. Does my client care? No.

My business will effectively carry on as before with only the name above the door changing. My advice and service will be unchanged.

I find it remarkable that journalists have not woken up to the fact that the very body responsible for consumer protection is the one responsible for unnecessary confusion with consequent consumer detriment.

Alan Lakey

We have a plan in place to remain independent, at the root of which is the recruitment of a non advising chartered financial planner as our technical and compliance manager. But it does seem a shame that someone with Alan’s profile should feel it necessary to take the restricted route. That said, I am quite sure that his clients, with whom I have no doubt he enjoys strong personal relationships, will see no difference in service.

The tragedy is that the IFA brand has come to have a real value in the eyes of many consumers and the withdrawal of the Alans of this world reduces its critical mass, thus risking its long-term sustainability.

Simon Webster

Online comments relating to: ‘We’re all in’: Watch the Govt’s new auto-enrol TV advert

If the whole point of auto-enrolment is to get over the difficulty of selling pensions to people why the need for an expensive TV advertising campaign?

Scott Gallacher

I think they’ve missed a trick here; many small business owners I speak to are currently unaware of pensions reform, and I believe this campaign should have been aimed at employers rather than employees, by providing some detail such as employer responsibilities, NEST/alternatives, penalties for missing staging date etc.

Andrew Jennings

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