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Unbiased calls for MAS to do more in bid to boost adviser referrals

Unbiased.co.uk is calling on the Money Advice Service to white label an adviser search function on its website as the MAS looks to boost adviser referrals.

The MAS has commissioned Financial Services Consumer Panel member Teresa Fritz to lead a three-month project on improving adviser referrals.

The latest available figures on MAS referrals show that between April 2011 and March 2012 the MAS referred 3,000 people to regulated financial advisers out of a total of 1.1 million website users, equivalent to 0.3 per cent of users.

The MAS website currently includes links to several adviser directories, including Unbiased.co.uk and Vouched For, but not in prominent positions on the site.

Unbiased.co.uk chief executive Karen Barrett says: “Maximising referrals is all about clear signposting on relevant pages and the MAS could do a lot more to link to adviser directories on topics such as pensions and tax planning. We are talking to the MAS about whether they could white label our service.”

Barrett says she would like to see the number of referrals to advisers “at least” treble to 9,000 a year.

Fritz says: “Most non-regulated advice services at some stage have to bridge the gap between ‘help and guidance’ and ‘regulated financial advice’ but it is tricky to do it well. I am delighted the MAS has decided to tackle this challenge head on.”

Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “The reality is while not every user of the MAS will benefit from seeing an IFA, some will. The MAS needs to do a lot more work on what action, if any, its website users are taking.”

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