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Pressure mounts on MAS as NAO says it’s not value for money

The National Audit Office says the Money Advice Service is not delivering value for money and has called for it to work more closely with advisers.

The NAO report, Helping consumers to manage their money, published last week, says while the debt advice part of the service is delivering value for money, the money advice service part is not.

The NAO acknowledges the MAS has been moving in the right direction on money advice since new chief executive Caroline Rookes took over in February.

The report makes a series of recommendations for the MAS to improve including the need to build relationships and links with regulated advisers to signpost users who want regulated products.

It also calls for MAS to become more of an “influencer” of other organisations, create a more coherent strategy and to better understand the risks of not providing its services.

The paper comes in the same week as a scathing Treasury select cub-committee report into the service which branded it “not fit for purpose”.

MPs lashed out at MAS’ marketing spend, high executive pay and business strategy, granting it a “stay of execution” while an independent report reviews its effectiveness.

Rookes says: “We are not complacent. We are working hard to develop meaningful relationships with the advice community and to enhance the way we evaluate our progress, but there is more we can do.”

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “I do not believe the MAS is value for money and the concept is incorrect. It is trying to take money from advisers and invent a service that we are already offering.”

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