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By John Kenchington | Published Jun 07, 2012

IMA voices support for controversial Money Advice Service

The Investment Management Association (IMA) has spoken out in support of the Money Advice Service (MAS).

The fund management trade body said the MAS will “fulfil a central role in financial education, information and advice”, in its submission to a Treasury Select Committee enquiry on the Service.

The MAS has been heavily criticised by the financial adviser industry. It has been launched by the government at a time when advice firms are feeling the pressure of a regulatory clampdown including the RDR.

IMA director of training and education Victoria Nye said the trade body supported the overall objectives of the MAS.

“MAS provides a valuable service. We would like to see as many UK consumers benefiting from it as possible,” she said.

The IMA said the MAS’s reputation would be improved if it could build “stronger working relationships with experts and more focused communications with its stakeholders, based on robust evaluation”.

“It should work with partners to encourage people to be more proactive and to seek financial advice,” said Ms Nye. “And the critical foundation to this encouragement has to be financial education in schools.”

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers’ policy director Chris Hannant has responded to the same enquiry warning that the MAS’s funding model is inappropriate.

He said the MAS should provide information but not regulated advice, adding he was “unconvinced that a predominantly online service will achieve the necessary behaviour change in the public’s approach to personal finance”.

“We support the overall objectives of MAS. There is a need for the government to tackle the lack of understanding and knowledge of personal finance issues. However, we have yet to see evidence that MAS is meeting its objectives,” Mr Hannant said.

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