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PFS urges Govt not to repeat MAS mistakes on guidance

The Personal Finance Society has asked the Government not to use the word “advice” in any branding, marketing or communications material when it sets up its new public guidance body

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The Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise will be merged into one combined guidance organisation, which the Government anticipates will launch “no earlier than autumn 2018.”

A name for the new organisation has yet to be determined.

Following criticism from advisers for using the term “advice” to describe a service that cannot give personalised recommendations, the Treasury has previously admitted “the name ‘Money Advice Service’ has always been misleading as MAS cannot provide regulated advice.”

TV adverts had claimed that MAS offered free, unbiased, independent advice.

In its response to the Government’s consultation on the future of public guidance, which closed on 13 February, the PFS says the guidance on offer should be clearly differentiated by only using the term “advice” in the context of regulated advice.

PFS chief executive Keith Richards says: “We have consistently called for terminology that is consistent with the service being offered and more intuitive for consumers to understand. Guidance which may signpost consumers to regulated financial advice when required should not be called advice.

“Any promotion of services offered by the new guidance body must be clear, accurate and not misleading, and we have to make it clear that guidance is not advice in the regulated and qualified sense. It is important not to mislead consumers into believing that they will be receiving regulated financial advice, which carries full consumer protection with it.”

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This is good, in addition whatever guidance offering is set up should be paid for from the public purse and not by levy (tax) on the profession and industry.

  2. I’m surprised that no complaints to the ASA have been made about the MAS misrepresenting the scope of its services, not least on the grounds that its very name implies that it provides advice which, fundamentally, it does not. Then again, maybe such complaints have been raised but have been brushed aside on the orders of the Treasury.

    All the more galling is that an organisation which claims to offer advice, but which does not, is force-funded by the very community that does.

    And, as ever, when is Caroline Rooker going to disclose just how many people who, having contacted the MAS in the expectation of getting something FOC instead of having to pay a regulated adviser for it and having been told that the MAS doesn’t offer advice, then ask: So on what basis do you call yourselves the Money Advice Service?

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