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TSC chair Andrew Tyrie raises concerns over MAS guidance role

Treasury select committee chair Andrew Tyrie has written to Chancellor George Osborne raising concern over the Money Advice Service’s involvement in the pensions guidance guarantee.

This morning, the Government announced it was working with the MAS on design and implementation of the guarantee.

Tyrie has written to the Chancellor asking for information over the scope and role of the MAS within the new service because of “serious concerns” over its performance.

Tyrie says: “I have written today to the Chancellor, asking him to clarify the scope and limits of the role proposed for the MAS. Furthermore, the independent review should be allowed to consider both immediate improvements to the MAS and the question of its future as a statutory body.

“Without such an undertaking, the committee would have reservations about a role for the MAS in an area as important as the guidance guarantee.”

Asked by Money Marketing if she is confident of MAS’s competence, Treasury economic secretary Andrea Leadsom says: “The MAS is one of the groups we have asked to look at finding a mechanism to deliver the guidance. Along with the Pensions Advisory Service and others, MAS will be key in this. Obviously, the Government has enough confidence that MAS will be able to be a part of that.”

The committee’s report on the MAS, published in December, gave the service a stay of execution but called on the Treasury to launch an independent inquiry into its future.

When that inquiry was eventually announced, Tyrie called for the terms of reference to be broadened to consider whether the MAS should continue to exist on a statutory footing.

Tyrie says: “The committee has expressed serious concerns about the ability of the MAS to perform its functions, and has recommended that an independent review consider whether the MAS should exist at all as a statutory body.”


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

  1. Julian Stevens 21st July 2014 at 4:06 pm

    George Osborne’s department: The PAS doesn’t have the resources to do the job by itself so the MAS will have to be involved.

    Andrew Tyrie: The MAS is an unfit for purpose crock of brown stuff, with a pretty thinly disguised negative attitude towards the advisory sector.

    George Osborne’s department: Well, there’s nobody else to do it and the government certainly isn’t going to be handing out vouchers to advisers ~ that would be the exact opposite of getting them to pay for somebody else to do the job.

    Andrew Tyrie: Why do I bother?

  2. Nick Pilkington 21st July 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I have the utmost respect for Andrew Tyrie.
    In a thankless job with no real power he does continually battle on to express reasonable & common sense views with the hope of influencing government, FCA etc.
    It may seem he has little success (I suspect that it is of more effect than is outwardly apparent) & I am very grateful for the effort he puts in.

  3. Tyrie says: “The committee has expressed serious concerns about the ability of the MAS to perform its functions, and has recommended that an independent review consider whether the MAS should exist at all as a statutory body.”

    Interesting that MAS gos from being called into question as to whether or not it shuold exist at all, to being considered as a key plank in the Treasury’s retirement strategy. Did the Treasury not hear Mr Tyrie’s observations….or just ignore them and pre-empt the outcome of any resultant enquiry….

  4. Julian Stevens 21st July 2014 at 4:22 pm

    If Andrew Tyrie is at all concerned about the TSC’s lack of power to enforce anything it may put to the FCA or indeed to any other regulatory body, then why is he making no efforts to bring about the creation of a Statutory Independent Regulatory Oversight Committee? He could be a part of such a body and thus have the power that he so obviously needs but clearly doesn’t have.

    Maybe then, Martin Wheatley would think twice about responses such as the one he gave when it was put to him that there’s a strong moral case for intermdeiaries tobe reimbursed the £118m we were overcharged by the FCA in its previous incarnation (before its latest phoenixing trick).

  5. Anthony Badaloo 21st July 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Great that advkce requirement is being recognised, before we get yet another Financial scandal on our hands. MAS is apparently being groomed to become a direct salaried salaried Salesforce of the regulator, funded by a levy on financial advisers.
    This may well have the effect of showing the trud value of Financial Advice.
    AAnthony Badaloo dipPFS is Financial Adviser. at Church Hill Finance

  6. Also concerned about the role Citizens Advice Bureaux are being asked to play. They’re already very overstretched since their budget was cut in 2011 – increased workload and reduced opening hours.

    This will end up in a 2 tier system. Those who can afford to pay for advice will do so. The rest will use online and phone systems based around simple flow charts.

  7. The double standards and blatant undermining of the advice sector by the government when it comes to the imminent pension reforms is unbelievable.

    Osborne was warned once by the industry that he was wrong to call it advice when it’s really guidance. “Oh, don’t be silly. What harm could the simple use of advice instead of guidance possibly do?” replied Mr Osborne. Well now it’s all over the national press the everyone is going to get free pension ADVICE at retirement by someone called the Money ADVICE Service.

    I’m glad that we have a friend in Andrew Tyrie, who can at least voice concerns. Whether or not they are listened too is another question.

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