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Tory peer calls for more political pressure on ‘waste of money’ MAS

London UK Thames Parliament 480

A Conservative peer is calling for politicians to pile pressure on the FSA and Treasury to review the Money Advice Service, describing it as a “waste of money”.

Lord Naseby has tabled a written question in the House of Lords asking the Treasury whether it believes the MAS should be scrapped. He is due an answer by next Tuesday.

The MAS is currently the subject of a Treasury select committee investigation, is facing extra FSA scrutiny and is the focus of stinging criticism from advisers.

It has come under fire for a “collossal” marketing spend, excessive executive pay and “crap” online tools.

In the face of such attacks, Lord Naseby believes the FSA and Treasury are wavering in their belief that the industry should fund the service.

He says: “The Government will be looking at it because the FSA now believes it is wrong. The Treasury can see the MAS is being flagged up and someone is tracking it so it will be taken seriously.

“It is all grist to the mill so it would be helpful if someone in the Commons would pick it up as well.

“It is a complete waste of money and is not a service that we need. It is very hard on the advisers who should not be expected to fork out all the time.”

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says the pressure on the MAS to justify its role and budget is growing.

He said: “It is facing a real challenge to justify their future existence in light of such industry and political pressure.

“We hope to see the Treasury provide a detailed answer to the written question from Lord Naseby, ideally explaining how they will ensure the financial services industry and its customers receive value for money from any activity undertaken by the MAS.”


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. We love you Lord Naseby, we do

  2. So do we get to complain to the FOS and receive compensation?

  3. So the Treasury come up with costed figures to justify the MAS and the value it provides. Then what happens? We can question the figures, dispute them but just like with the RDR where everyone was aware that the costings by the FSA were absurdly low (and this has proven to be the case), the Treasury will ignore them. And the MAS will continue……
    My beef with the MAS is who pays since the argument about value is one IFAs will struggle to win without the resources available to the Treasury.

  4. Neil F Liversidge 23rd October 2012 at 11:32 am

    It’s ironic that this useless gold plated pig of a quango was set up by the very same Tory government that promised a bonfire of said quangos. It costs a fortune and helps nobody. last year in association with the BBC I walked a heavily indebted couple through its online advice system. At the end of it they were still broke and still deeply in debt. It was no help to them at all to know they should be saving money in a savings account, ISA and pension. WITH WHAT??? Contrast the barmy brainchild (that’s a laugh!) of Tory minister Mark Hoban with the practical common sense of Wakefield’s LABOUR council which has no ideological problem at all when it comes to working with community IFA firms such as ours. Wakefield council sends indebted clients to us for advice on its Brewathing Space Loan scheme and pays us a fixed fee for our work. Clients are actually helped at the end of the process at a fraction of the cost of MAS. Would it not make more sense to bin MAS immediately and develop Wakefield’s scheme nationwide? Some IFAs will want to participate and some won’t, but at least the poorest will get the help they need and we won’t all be fleeced for an absurd white elephant.

  5. Until something happens this is another person scoring points by huffing and puffing about the obvious issues we are facing with MAS.

    Neil – that’s a very interesting post. Perhaps MAS could be best placed to work at local government level to regionalise its offering ?

    Knocking MAS is simple and I get a bit tired of us doing so.

  6. Surely the only people who can “value” the benefits of the MAS are those that are funding it.

    After all even a free “crap” service by the receipt will have some value when judged against what they have paid (i.e. nothing directly).

    However those clients of advisers, who by default are funding the MAS, yet are most unlikely to ever use it, get zero “value”.

  7. I agree with Neils comment. I am sure the IFA community will be prepared to help and the way that they are paid could work a bit like Legalaid.

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