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Pro bono plan is getting our support

For a number of reasons, we were surprised to read the article on advisers snubbing pro bono advice (Money Marketing, January 27).

Surprise one: you say that only seven advisers have signed up for the scheme but all three directors of this firm have offered their services and are on the rota for Gateshead Citizens’ Advice Bureau where the scheme is up and running as intended.

So are we to believe that this firm represents almost half of all advisers willing to do pro bono work in the UK? We think not. The reality is that the scheme is only being piloted in three areas.

Surprise two: you say that the scheme is to provide advice to people with debt problems. That is incorrect. The project is to provide basic financial advice. This week’s caseload was concerned with pension and endowment advice.

Surprise three: you say the Chartered Insurance Institute had to put up 40,000 to back a scheme where we give our time free? There seems to be a rabbit away there.

One final point. It is very disappointing that The Personal Finance Society’s head of public affairs hints and states that IFAs are congenitally unsuited to pro bono work. That is not quite the public face we wish the PFS to present.

Tony Conner,
Joss Harwood,
Owen Temple Eldon Financial Planning
Bishop Auckland,County Durham

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