MPs warned of ‘narcissistic’ Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service should concentrate on financial education and telephone services rather than a “narcissistic exercise of competing with what is already going on,” MPs have been told.
Speaking to the Treasury select committee inquiry into MAS, Martin Lewis, founder of Moneysavingsexpert.com, delivered an impassioned plea to the service, funded through an industry levy, to improve its delivery.
He described the MAS financial healthcheck as “abominable” and suggested it should instead kitemark existing sites such as his and other comparison and personal finance resources and newspapers.
Mr Lewis said: “The people at the top end of Mas seem to be more interested in building a brand. MAS was supposed to help the vulnerable, I do not know where it has gone wrong.
“If you gave me £20m to spend on improving financial capability, I would not spend it on what MAS is doing.”
The TSC also heard from Otto Thoresen director general of the Association of British Insurers, who led a review for the Treasury on generic financial advice in 2008. He said financial education should be put on the national curriculum but also needs to be taught at different life stages.
He said: “MAS should adopt a partnership principle. The model was originally about filling in gaps. It needs to build on capabilities that already exist.”
Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of the Personal Finance Education Group, told the MPs, “If you do not teach young people about finance education, you are condemning them to generational inequality.”
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